Ahly cruise to Champions League final with dominant win over TP Mazembe

Ahram Online , Saturday 27 Apr 2024

Egyptian giants Ahly took a commanding step towards a record-extending 12th CAF Champions League title with a convincing 3-0 victory over DR Congo's TP Mazembe in the semi-final on Friday.

Ahly
Ahly's defender Rami Rabia controls the ball during his side's 2-0 win over TP Mazembe in the CAF Champions League semi-final on Friday. Photo: Ahly's official X account.

 

Second-half goals from Mohamed Abdel-Moneim, Wessam Abou Ali and Akram Tawfik secured a comfortable win at Cairo International Stadium, propelling the Red Devils to their fifth consecutive Champions League final and 17th overall.

They became the only team to make it to the final game five straight times breaking TP Mazembe's record who have reached the finals between 1967 and 1970. 

The 11-time African Champions have also stretched their unbeaten run in the Champions League to 20 games matching the record set by Esperance.

Ahly dictated the tempo from the outset, seeking an early lead to settle their nerves. The visitors, however, proved resolute, frustrating the hosts with their defensive solidity and swift counter-attacks.

The closest Ahly came in the first half was through Amr El Sulaya. The midfielder saw his initial effort saved by Mazembe goalkeeper Aliou Faty, before his follow-up was cleared off the line. Ahmed Abdel-Kader also went close with a headed effort that Faty palmed away for a corner.

Mazembe rarely threatened, with their only real chance of the first half falling to Ibrahima Keita, whose shot was blocked by goalkeeper Mostafa Shobeir.

The second half continued in a similar vein, with Ahly maintaining control. The visitors thought they had taken the lead through Joël Beya's header, but the goal was rightly ruled out for offside by the Video Assistant Referee (VAR).

Moments later, Marcel Koller introduced Emam Ashour from injury to bolster his midfield. The change paid immediate dividends as Ahly finally broke the deadlock on the hour mark. Mohamed Abdel-Moneim rose highest to meet Ali Maaloul's cross and head the ball into the net.

The goal opened the floodgates, with Ahly adding two more in quick succession. Wessam Abou Ali doubled the lead with a clinical finish from another Maaloul delivery, before Akram Tawfik capped the scoring in stoppage time, converting Emam Ashour's cross.

Ahly will now face Tunisia's Esperance in the final, who have defeated South Africa's Mamelodi Sundowns 2-0 on aggregate. 

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