Start of the champions

Alaa Abdel-Ghani , Tuesday 26 Sep 2023

Ahly of Egypt began the defence of their African Champions League title on a winning note, breezing past Saint George of Ethiopia 3-0 in the first leg of the round of 32 of the African Champions League in Cairo on Sunday to put the defence of their title on the right track, Alaa Abdel-Ghani reports

Start of the champions


Hussein Al-Shahat scored a brace in minutes 29 and 58 while Ahmed Abdel-Kader put the game out of reach deep into injury time.

The game was played in Cairo Stadium in front of 30,000 fans and Saint George will find themselves in Groundhog Day in the second leg on Friday 29 September, for that too will be in Cairo. The Confederation of African Football (CAF) does not recognise Saint George’s home stadium and so the game will be played in Cairo again.

There is little doubt that Ahly will get past this round with ease. They are playing a team with scant football history while Ahly have won the title a record 11 times. Their latest triumph was last season against Wydad of Morocco, winning 3-2 on aggregate in the final.

In the same tournament, Pyramids, also of Egypt, played to a scoreless draw against APR of Rwanda in another first leg round of 32 clash.

Pyramids were making their first appearance in the Champions League after finishing second in the Egyptian league last season.

The second leg is scheduled for Cairo after a two-week break. 

Before their African journeys, Ahly and Pyramids won and tied respectively in their opening games of the Egyptian league where they finished one-two last season.

Ahly trounced Masri 4-0 at Alexandria’s Borg El-Arab stadium on Tuesday 19 September while Pyramids and Zamalek, who finished third last season, battled to an exciting 2-2 draw at the Air Defence Stadium two days later.

* A version of this article appears in print in the 28 September, 2023 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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