Ahly players Mahmoud “Kahraba” Abdel-Moneim and Reda Slim celebrate during their team's 2-2 draw with Tanzania's Simba in the first leg of the quarterfinals of the inaugural African Football League (AFL) on Friday, October 20, 2023. Photo: AFL's official Facebook account.
Ahly took the lead with a goal from Moroccan forward Reda Slim seconds before halftime. The hosts came from behind to seize the lead with goals from Kibu Denis in the 53rd minute and Sadio Kanoute in the 60th minute.
Mahmoud 'Kahraba' Abdel-Moneim made amends for his earlier misses and netted the equalizer in the 63rd minute, securing a valuable away draw before the return leg in Cairo on Tuesday.
The Cairo giants started the game strongly and pressed forward in an attempt to score an early goal, creating numerous chances from both flanks. The Red Devils could have been 3-0 up within the first 20 minutes, but Kahraba missed two clear-cut chances from point-blank range, while South Africa's Percy Tau put the ball over the bar in a one-on-one situation.
Kahraba was extremely active in the first half, with his well-placed header brilliantly saved by the goalkeeper, and his penalty claim, following a challenge in the box, was turned down.
In the first minute of stoppage time, he provided a clear opportunity for Slim in the area, who scored at the near post from close range.
The second half was a different affair as Simba turned their fortunes around, netting two goals in quick succession. Denis headed home from point-blank range after an assist from Clatous Chama in the 53rd minute.
Five minutes later, Kanoute evaded his marker to head in a corner kick and put his team ahead.
It marked the first time this season that Ahly had conceded two goals in a single game.
However, the Red Devils were back on the front foot, and Kahraba leveled the score with a right-footed shot from close range in the 63rd minute.
Marcel Koller's men could have gone home with a win, as they posed a significant threat on the counter-attack, but Kahraba and second-half substitute Salah Mohsen lacked precision in the final third.
Ahly will host Simba in the second leg at Cairo International Stadium on Tuesday. If they advance to the semifinals, they will face the winner between Mamelodi Sundowns and Petro Atletico.
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