Ahly failed to make use of their clear score chances in Saturday's match against Angolan champions Recreativo de Libolo, finishing the 1st leg of the CAF Champions League round of 32 with a goalless draw.
The record-holding eight-time CAF Champions League winners, Ahly dominated their foes during the first half, but lost the advantage after the break when Recreativo came back strong to threaten their defence.
Ahly's Dutch coach Martin Jol made his debut in the African competitions, playing the game with a lone striker and three midfielders to block the playmaking area against the hosts.
The Cairo giants will host Recreativo in the second leg of the CAF Champions League round of 32 on 19 March and the winner will face either Tanzania's Young Africans or Rwanda's A.P.R, who will clash in another last-32 match.
Four-time Angola league champions Recreativo reached the round of 32 of the CAF Champions League after smashing Equatorial Guinea's Racing de Micomeseng 9-1 on aggregate in the preliminaries.
The Red Devils are representing Egypt in the CAF Champions League after placing second in the Egyptian Premier League tables last season, behind leaders Zamalek.
Domination but no goals
Ahly attempted to take an early lead during the first quarter through striker Malick Evouna and attacking midfielder Abdallah El-Said, but they were stopped by the Recreativo defence.
The play was blocked in the midfield, as Ahly coach Jol started the game with three midfielders, Hossam Ghaly, Ahmed Fathi, and Abdallah El-Said, to close off the swift moves of the Angolan players.
Ahly's lone striker Malick Evouna outpaced his marker to break clear after a threaded pass from playmaker El-Said at 26 minutes, but he shot wide of the goal, while Moemen Zakareya's effort from inside the area was thwarted when he shot the ball over the bar.
Ahly continued pressure on Recreativo's defence but their efforts were continually blocked by the Angolan defence.
El-Said again sent a soft shot inside the area but it failed to reach the net.
The first half finished with three clear-cut chances to open the scoring for Ahly, while hosts Recreativo didn't test the Red Devils' defence or the goalkeeper's gloves.
Hosts revived in second half
Recreativo started the second half with a totally different performance and dominated the midfield area, but Ahly's defence stopped their efforts to reach Abdel-Moneim's bars.
Evouna again wasted an easy score chance in the 63rd minute after he outpaced his marker to shoot the ball but Recreativo goalkeeper was lucky to stop the ball between his legs.
Attacking midfielder Walid Soliman was introduced 20 minutes from the break, replacing Ramadan Sobhi to refresh Ahly's frontlines.
Recreativo lost their first clear score chance in the 67th minute when Brazilian striker Luis Philip converted a left through-ball over Ahly's bar.
Both Ahly and Recreativo had score chances in an evenly-balanced second half.
A few minutes before the final whistle, Recreativo lost two clear score chances when Ahly's defence lost control over the host's strikers.
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