Ahly secure away goalless draw against Esperance in first leg of CAF Champions League final

Mahmoud Elassal , Sunday 19 May 2024

Egyptian giants Ahly secured a valuable goalless draw against Tunisian champions Esperance at Stade Olympique Hammadi Agrebi in the first leg of the CAF Champions League final on Saturday.

Ahly s Egyptian defender #28 Fouad Karim fights for the ball with Esperance s Brazilian midfielder #10 Yan Sasse during the first leg of the CAF Champions League final football match between Tunis Esperance Sportive de Tunis and Egypt s Al-Ahly at Hammadi Agrebi Stadium in Rades on May 18, 2024. AFP


The decisive second leg will take place at the Cairo International Stadium on 25 May, where the champion of this prestigious tournament will be determined.

The only notable achievement of the match was Ahly setting a new record of 21 consecutive unbeaten games in the CAF Champions League, surpassing Esperance's previous record of 20 matches in the continental tournament.

Both teams struggled to create clear scoring opportunities, with Esperance failing to capitalize on home advantage due to Ahly's solid defense.

Ahly faced an early setback when veteran left-back Ali Maaloul sustained an injury just five minutes into the match.

Swiss coach Marcel Koller was forced to substitute midfielder Karim Fouad for Maaloul after only five minutes of play.

Rodrigo came close to giving hosts Esperance an early lead with a well-executed header that narrowly missed the crossbar.

Winger Hussein El-Shahat had a few attempts but nothing to threaten the Tunisian keeper.

The first half concluded without any noteworthy threats on either team's goal, as scoring chances remained scarce.

2nd half mirrors the first

The second half began with the same lineups, and the players produced a similar performance to the first half, failing to break the deadlock.

Emam Ashour unleashed a powerful strike from outside the area, coming close to giving Ahly the lead.

Esperance's Portuguese coach, Miguel Cardoso, made substitutions middway through the second half, bringing on winger Zakareya El Ayeb and Raed Bouchniba to inject fresh energy into the frontline.

Koller, aiming to seize a lead in the final ten minutes of the game, made changes by introducing Mohamed Afsha and Reda Slim, replacing Emam Ashour and Percy Tau, respectively but to no avail.

As defending champions, Ahly are determined to showcase their long-standing dominance in African football by clinching their 12th Champions League title, while Esperance aims to secure their fifth title and their first since their triumphant campaign in 2019.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

Short link: