Al-Ahly of Egypt, the defending champion, made a big stride towards the final of the African Champions League competition, after its great victory over its guest, ES Setif of Algeria, 4-0 at the “Al-Salam” stadium in Cairo.
And logically, it is expected that Al-Ahly and Moroccan Wydad will qualify for the final after Wydad return with an explicit superiority from the land of its host, Petro Atletico of Angola, 3-1 in the capital, Luanda, in the first leg of the semi-finals.
Al-Ahly and Wydad had reached the final of the 2017 edition, when the Moroccan team won the title after drawing 1-1 in Cairo, then Wydad won again in Casablanca with a goal scored by Walid El Karti.
Al-Ahly achieved a comfortable victory to facilitate its task before the return leg next week in Algeria.
Al-Ahly achieved its second largest victory in the Champions League semi-final, since its victory over Etoile du Sahel 6-2 in the 2017 edition, and equalized its 4-0 victory over Nigeria’s Enugu Rangers in the 1982 edition.
It is also Al-Ahly’s biggest victory over Algerian clubs in the African Championships, during 22 matches, which is his 11th victory.
The Century Club seeks to become the first team to win the title in three successive editions, and to strengthen the record for the number of titles, after winning ten times previously.
South African Al-Ahly quartet scored Percy Tau (30 and 90), Taher Mohamed Taher (54), and substitute Mohamed Sharif (72).
ES Setif played with ten players since the 35th minute, after its player Amir Karaoui was sent off with a red card directly, for deliberate roughness with Hussein El Shahat.
Al-Ahly goalkeeper Mohamed El-Shennawy sent a message to the fans after the victory, “We appreciate your anger and know that we are short, but there are no excuses,” adding, “We played a good match, and we know the value of the African Championship and we want to achieve for ourselves by winning the title for the third time in a row and to make our fans who support us happy.”
He added, “We were affected by the pressure of the matches in the last period, and today we played after 5 days, so we saw the performance and the spirit,” adding, “We have not decided the qualification yet. 90 minutes left in Algeria, we were successful and affected by the expulsion, we will celebrate and focus on ourselves and we want a positive result in Algeria.”
For his part, he said, “We achieved an important victory, but we did not yet guarantee qualification, and ES Setif will not give up and will not give up the chances of qualifying easily.”
He added, “I will not play with the substitutes in the second leg next Saturday, as there are teams that won great results in the first leg, but the matter turned out to be the return of the opponent.”
Mosimane praised ES Setif coach Darko Novich, describing him as “courageous”, because he played in a distinctive tactical style and tried to hit Al-Ahly’s net.
Regarding Percy Tau’s return to score, Mosimane said: “I’ve known Tao for 20 years, I’ve lived through similar situations and I’m completely confident in his abilities.
He continued, “I am worried when we cannot create chances, and tonight we created opportunities and scored, and also Mohamed Sharif came back strongly to score the net, not Tao alone.”
Regarding his record of 5 victories in the semi-finals, Mosimane said: “I am not here to break records and I do not care about them as much as I care about the team; Because Al-Ahly is only competing with itself.”
Mosimane demanded that the Champions League final be held on a neutral stadium, in accordance with the decision of the African Confederation (CAF), to hold the final round of one match.
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