Ahly labored to a 1-0 home win over Morocco’s Difaa Jadida in the first-leg of the African Confederation Cup round of 16 on Sunday as they began their bid to become the first Egyptian side to win the continent’s secondary club competition.
A powerful first-half shot from a tight angle by playmaker Abdallah El-Said was enough to settle the game, which was played behind closed doors at Cairo’s Air Defence Stadum, in Ahly’s favour, although Jadida will have everything to play for in the second leg on 26 April.
Ahly seek consolation after their elimination from the African Champions league following a shock 4-2 aggregate defeat by Libya's Ahly Benghazi in the last 16.
Missing some key players due to injuries or suspension, Ahly looked largely toothless against their modest opponents.
Ahly dominated possession in the early stages but hardly threatened the visitors, whose counter-attacking attempts were unsuccessful.
In the 21st minute, forward Ahmed Raouf released El-Said with a deft pass and the playmaker no made mistake with a fierce drive that beat Jadida keeper at the near post.
The Red Devils piled on pressure but the efforts of Raouf, Moussa Yedan and Mohamed ‘Gedo’ Nagy were in vain.
Ahly’s defence successfully thwarted Jadida’s attempts to hit the hosts on the break.
Jadida made an enthusiastic start to the second half but they were still unable to make their efforts count.
Abdallah El-Said missed a chance to score his second of the night when his header on 57 minutes was blocked by the keeper.
Coach Mohamed Youssef introduced winger Ahmed Shokry and forward El-Sayed Hamdi in a bid to revitalize his attack but neither made a notable impact as Ahly failed to add to the solitary goal.
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