Egypt's Ahly lose African Super Cup after late drama

Hatem Maher , Saturday 21 Feb 2015

Hossam Ghaly (L) of Egypt's Ahly challenges Amine Megateli of Algeria's Entente Setif during their African Super Cup soccer match at the Mustapha Tchaker Stadium in Blida February 21, 2015 (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt's Ahly scored deep in stoppage time to bring back to mind their memorable Confederation Cup triumph last year but their hopes were crushed after they lost 6-5 on penalties away to Algeria's ES Setif in the African Super Cup on Saturday.

Champions League holders Setif looked as though they had wrapped up their maiden Super Cup title after going into the injury time with a 1-0 lead, thanks to a second-half strike from Abdelmalek Ziaya.

But veteran striker and second-half substitute Emad Meteb, who famously helped Ahly become the first Egyptian side to win the Confederation Cup with a last-gasp header in last year's final against Ivory Coast's Sewe Sport, struck at the death again to force a penalty shootout following a blunder from the keeper.

Both sides looked composed in the normally nerve-jangling penalties, having converted their first five spot kicks, but Setif prevailed in the sudden death to spark wild celebrations at the Mustapha Tchaker Stadium in Blida.

Ali Lamri converted his kick but Ahly's full-back Bassem Ali had his effort saved by Sofiane Khedairia as the Cairo giants, who sought to win a record-extending seventh Super Cup triumph, lost for only the second time in eight attempts.

Their previous defeat was in 1994 when they lost 1-0 to Cairo rivals Zamalek in Johannesburg. Ahly also missed out on the chance of becoming the first side in the continent to win three Super Cups in a row.

Rain-soaked pitch

A scrappy first-half at a rain-soaked pitch yielded very few opportunities for either side, with both teams adopting a cautious approach.

Talented midfielder El Hedi Belameiri was Setif's liveliest performer, with his clever turns and twists keeping Ahly's defenders on their toes.

The hosts' only chance fell to the 23-year-old after 37 minutes. He gathered a loose ball after Ahly's central defender Saad Samir scuffed a clearance to jink into the area and cut inside Mohamed Naguib but his eventual low shot went just wide.

Ahly's only attempt was a low shot that was saved by keeper Sherif Ekramy as attacking quartet Walid Soliman, Abdallah El-Saied, Mahmoud Trezeguet and Ahmed Abdel-Zaher failed to deliver.

Soliman almost put Ahly ahead though early in the second half but his attempted lob from a tight angle was thwarted by keeper Khedairia and some error-strewn minutes ensued until Setif sent the home fans into delirium with a 70th-minute goal.

Ahly's right-back Ali mistimed his run as he sought to intercept a through pass, allowing the ball to elude him and find substitute Mohamed Benyettou, who sent a defence-breaching diagonal pass that picked out the sliding Abdelmalek Ziaya for an easy tap-in at the far post.

Spanish coach Juan Garrido introduced Meteb and new Nigerian forward Peter Ebimobowei to beef up his attack in the latter stages but they struggled to carve out openings.

Ahly could have equalised though with less than 15 minutes remaining but defender Samir headed straight at the keeper with the goal at his mercy after he was accidently found by a powerful shot from Soliman.

At the other end, Ekramy produced a superb save with his fingertips to deny the Algerians and it proved valuable as Khedairia pushed a long ball straight to the feet of Meteb, whose low shot went past him and a desperate defender who tried to clear it off the line.

However, Ahly's celebrations were short-lived after Setif got the better of them on penalties.

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