Ahly advance to Champions League semifinals after draw at Raja

Karim Farouk , Sunday 30 Apr 2023

Egyptian giants Ahly have secured their spot in the semifinals of the African Champions League for the fourth consecutive year, after drawing 0-0 with Morocco's Raja in Casablanca on Saturday.

Percy Tau
Ahly s South African forward Percy Tau (L) attempts a shot during the CAF Champions League quarter-final football match between Morocco s Raja Casablanca and Egypt s Al Ahly at Mohammed V Stadium in Casablanca on April 29, 2023. Photo: AFP

 

Ahly owed their qualification to their 2-0 home win last week in Cairo, to cement their superiority over their North African rivals in recent years.

Ahly also eliminated Raja from last season's quarterfinals and beat them to the 2022 African Super Cup title.

The 10-time African Champions will now face Tunisia's Esperance in the semifinals.

First half danger

The hosts, cheered on by more than 40,000 fans at the Mohamed V Stadium, launched several attacks in the opening stages while Al Ahly adopted a more cautious approach.

Although Raja enjoyed over 60% of ball possession, it counted for nothing and Algerian midfielder Yousri Bouzok was to blame for it.

Bouzok dribbled in the are but his close range shot was blocked by keeper Mohamed El Shennawy midway through the first half.

Just before the break, Raja were awarded a penalty kick after a VAR check, but Bouzok's spot kick crashed off the crossbar.

Ahly stepped up their game after the interval, while Raja struggled to break through their defense.

The Egyptians posed a threat on the counter, with wingers Hussein El Shahat and Percy Tau finding space but lacking precision in the final touch.

Raja's best chance came in the 76th minute, when a low cross from Bouzok found Hamza Khabba unmarked at the far post, but he missed the target from inside the box.

Ahly's defence was able to contain the hosts' attacks in the final remaining minutes to seal passage to the next round.

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