Egypt's Ahly stroll to win over Sudan's Al-Hilal in Champions League
Ahram Online , Friday 6 Dec 2019
Goals from Junior Ajayi and Ramadan Sobhi hand Ahly their first win in the African Champions League group stage


Playmaker Magdi Afsha stole the show with a superb all-round display as Ahly atoned for their opening group-stage defeat to beat Sudan's Al-Hilal 2-1 at home in the African Champions League on Friday.

Playing at Cairo's Al-Salam Stadium, which Ahly will use as their home venue for the next 25 years as per their agreement with the stadium's officials, the Red Devils produced a dominant performance to claim their first Group B win.

Afsha set up Hussein El-Shahat for the opener on the quarter-hour mark and proved a constant threat as Ahly made up for their opening 1-0 away defeat by Tunisia's Etoile Sahel.

Ramadan Sobhi converted a penalty eight minutes before the break to double the advantage and Ahly were guilty of squandering some easy chances in the second half, allowing Al-Hilal's Atahir Eltahir to score a consolation eight minutes into stoppage time.

The 10-minute injury time was given after Al-Hilal keeper Salim Jamal picked up an injury and received a lengthy treatment before making way for Younis Eltayeb.

Ahly lie third in the group with three points, on level with second-placed Al-Hilal. Etoile, who also have three points, face Zimbabwe's FC Platinum in the other group match on Saturday.

Brilliant skill

Afsha had an early low shot palmed away by Jamal before drawing loud cheers with a brilliant piece of skill to help put Ahly ahead on 15 minutes.

He floated a perfectly-weighted cross to the far post, where El-Shahat popped up to fire a low shot between the legs of Jamal with a first-timer.

Al-Hilal's efforts to come out of their defensive barracks were hardly successful as they offered little upfront, with Ahly maintaining their relentless pressure.

Lone striker Junior Ajayi fired astonishingly wide with the goal at his mercy when he was found unmarked by a low cross from right-back Mohamed Hani but he made amends to win a penalty, which Sobhi converted by stroking the ball down the middle in the 37th minute.

Ahly slowed down a bit after the break but were still unlucky not to add to their lead, wasting a couple of clear-cut chances as their passionate fans kept on roaring.

The impressive Afsha struck the bar with a curling shot before releasing Sobhi with a defence-splitting pass six minutes past the hour mark, although the winger missed the target.

A defensive lapse helped Al-Hilal find the net though, with Eltahir drilling home on the rebound after keeper Mohamed El-Shennawi pushed a tame shot into his path as the visitors caught Ahly's rearguard napping.

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