Ahly settle for draw at Sudan's Al-Hilal in Champions League

Ahram Online , Friday 18 Feb 2022

Reigning champions Ahly settled for a 0-0 draw away to Sudan's Al-Hilal in Group A of the African Champions League following a scrappy affair in Omdurman's Blue Jewel Stadium on Friday.

Al-Hilal 0-0 Ahly
Ahly play out a 0-0 draw at Sudanese giants Al-Hilal in Group A of the African Champions League (Photo: Ahram)

In a match that was played behind closed doors after African governing body CAF had reversed a decision to allow up to 15,000 fans to attend, both sides struggled to mount threats.

It was Ahly who could have snatched a late win though when substitute Magdi Afsha had a shot denied by the post.

The Red Devils, who are seeking to become the first team in Africa's history to win three straight Champions League titles, had their opening group-stage game against Al-Hilal's Sudanese rivals Al-Merreikh postponed due to their Club World Cup commitments.

They now have one point, on level with Al-Hilal, who lost to South Africa's Mamelodi Sundowns in their opening game. Sundowns meet Al-Merreikh in the other group match on Saturday.

Dour half

A dour first half yielded no clear-cut chances, apart from a free header by Ahly winger Ahmed Abdel-Kader that went over the bar following a cross from right-back Mohamed Hani.

At the other end, Al-Hilal had some half chances as they tried some long-range shots.

It was the same story in another drab second half, with both sides guilty of some wayward shots and mis-placed passes.

A rare chance fell to striker Mohamed Sherif, who sent a left-foot volley just over the bar five minutes past the hour mark.

Al-Hilal keeper Ali Abu-Eshrein also kept out a dangerous low cross from Tunisian left-back Ali Maaloul before Afsha had the best chance, curling a low shot against the post after skipping past a challenger in the area. 

The miss denied Ahly their first ever away victory over Al-Hilal after three previous draws and a defeat.                             

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