Egypt's Ahly to host Esperance behind closed doors in Champions League

Ahram Online , Wednesday 23 Jun 2021

Esperance played before their fans in the first leg but Ahly will have to contend with empty stands in Cairo in the second leg

Esperance v Ahly
Esperance enjoyed the support of their fans in the first leg (Photo: Ahly's official website)

Ahly will not enjoy the support of their passionate fans when they host Tunisia's Esperance on Saturday after their request to allow fan attendance was turned down, the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) chief said late on Tuesday.

The Red Devils were hoping to have a long-standing crowd ban at least partially lifted when they meet Esperance in the second leg of the African Champions League semi-final but EFA's interim head Ahmed Megahed said it would not be possible.

"We informed Ahly that a security clearance was not granted. Security bodies responded to our request by saying the game would be played behind closed doors," he said in a television interview, adding that the decision was down to coronavirus concerns.

Esperance were backed by some 5,000 supporters when they played Ahly in Rades in the first leg. The Cairo giants claimed a precious 1-0 victory to take a giant stride towards reaching the final for a second straight season.

Ahly were hoping to get the same privilege at Cairo's Al-Salam Stadium but they will now have to contend with empty stands yet again.

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