Johannesburg, Monday @PeopleSports11
Al Ahly of Egypt became the first club to score six goals in a CAF Champions League semi-final match as they crushed Etoile Sahel of Tunisia 6-2 in Alexandria Sunday to reach the title decider.
The record eight-time champions qualified 7-4 on aggregate to face Wydad Casablanca of Morocco in the two-leg final with the first match in Egypt next weekend.
Since the elite African club competition began in 1964, nine clubs have struck five goals in a single leg of a semi-final. Conakry II and Hafia of Guinea, Mufulira Wanderers of Zambia, Bilima of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Shooting Stars of Nigeria, Mouloudia Oran of Algeria and ASEC Mimosas of the Ivory Coast accomplished the feat in the African Cup of Champions Clubs.
TP Mazembe of DR Congo and Wydad matched the achievement since the competition underwent a name change in 1997 to the CAF Champions League. Before slamming six goals past Etoile, the best Ahly had managed was four at home to Enugu Rangers of Nigeria in a 1982 semi-final.
Crushing Etoile enabled the “Cairo Red Devils” to maintain a record of never going more than three years this century without reaching the Champions League final. They last appeared in a decider in 2013, defeating Orlando Pirates of South Africa 3-1 on aggregate with now-retired legend Mohamed Abou Trika among the scorers.
Ahly were first crowned African champions in 1982 when it was an exclusively knockout competition and have twice won back-to-back titles. Wydad will be making a third final appearance having beaten Al Hilal of Sudan in 1992, and going down to Esperance of Tunisia six years ago.
After Etoile established a 2-1 first-leg lead in Tunisia last month, the return match at the 85,000-seat Borg El Arab Stadium was expected to an equally tight affair. But it took Ahly just two minutes to grab the lead with Tunisian Ali Maaloul slamming a free-kick past experienced goalkeeper Aymen Mathlouthi. -AFP