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Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Egypt's Ahly through to Champions League quarters with 3-0 win over Saoura

Hatem Maher , Saturday 16 Mar 2019
Ahly
Ahly beat JS Saoura 3-0 in Alexandria on Saturday (Ahram)
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Egypt's Ahly put in a commanding display to crush Algeria's JS Saoura 3-0 in Alexandria on Saturday and qualify for the African Champions League quarters as they continue their bid towards their first title since 2013.

Tunisian left-back Ali Maaloul produced a virtuoso performance to help Ahly to a 2-0 first-half lead, his crosses forcing Fateh Talah to score into his own net on 30 minutes and setting up striker Marwan Mohsen for a second on the stroke of halftime.

Hussein El-Shahat, Ahly's record signing who joined in January, came off the bench to round off the win with nine minutes remaining.

The Red Devils, who needed a victory to ensure their progress, ran out worthy winners despite struggling on a muddy pitch at Alexandria's Borg El-Arab Stadium to make up for two successive away losses to Tanzania's Simba and DR Congo's Vita Club.

They advanced to the last eight as Group D leaders with 10 points, with Simba snatching the second ticket with nine points in second after securing a late 2-1 comeback victory over Vita Club.

Saoura finished third on eight points followed by Vita Club on seven.

Maaloul crosses 

In a largely cautious first half, Ahly scored from their first real attempt, Maaloul's low cross pushed by keeper Abderaouf Nateche to rebound off the unfortunate Talah and into the net.

Although Ahly eased off after taking the lead, Saoura hardly had an imposing presence, managing only one half-chance in the 37th minute when  Ziri Hammar's volley on the turn went high over.

Another foray forward from the impressive Maloul put Ahly 2-0 up just before the half-time whistle, with the Tunisian international turning his challenger inside out before sending in a cross which Mohsen made the most of, swiveling and firing home from eight yards out.

Ahly remained in control after the break, with Saoura offering little resistance.

Mohsen headed just wide from an inviting Maaloul cross on 59 minutes and playmaker Nasser Maher had a swerving shot from the edge of the area tipped away by Nateche 10 minutes later.

But El-Shahat made sure of the win on 81 minutes after some fine individual work from winger Ramadan Sobhi.

Sobhi, on loan from Huddersfield Town, weaved his way on the left hand side of the area before squaring the ball to El-Shahat, whose first touch wrong-footed a defender and the keeper to fire into the roof of an unguarded net.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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