Wasteful Ahly held in Zambia as Champions League race goes down to wire

Hatem Maher , Saturday 1 Jul 2017

Egypt's Ahly settle for a 0-0 draw with Zambia's Zanaco in the African Champions League on Saturday (Ahram)

Egyptian giants Ahly wasted a plethora of goal-scoring chances to settle for a 0-0 draw at Zambia's Zanaco on Saturday that sent the African Champions League Group D race down to the final round of games.

Zanaco failed to mount any threats but Ahly could not make their dominance count as the pair's second group meeting ended in another goalless draw following their stalemate in Alexandria in May.

The Zambians top their group with 11 points and are on the verge of sealing a last-eight berth, having defied expectations to outshine traditional heavyweights Ahly and Morocco's Wydad Casablanca.

Ahly are second on eight points and will hope Wydad, who are third with six points having played a game less, stumble against Cameroon's Coton Sport (0 points) later on Saturday.

In the last round of matches, Ahly host Coton Sport and Zanaco face Wydad in Casablanca next week.

Despite a bumpy pitch that made life hard for both sides in Lusaka, Ahly seemed brighter from the outset, pouring forward en masse.

They were unlucky to lose winger Ahmed Hamoudi to injury though, with the former Basel man taken off after 17 minutes after picking up an injury.

Before being substituted, Hamoudi tested Zanaco keeper Toaster Nsabata with a snap shot and sent a deft long ball which released Junior Ajayi but the Nigerian forward's chipped effort was denied by the post.

Hamoudi's replacement, Walid Soliman, also went close with a shot that went just over the bar and right-back Ahmed Fathi's cunning effort from a tight angle forced another superb save from Nsabata.

The second half was also one-way traffic but Ahly could only create one goal-scoring chance that Soliman wasted with the goal at his mercy.

Ajayi found the overlapping Soliman with a brilliant back-heel pass but he was thwarted by the impressive Nsabata from point-blank range.

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