Sfax of Tunisia managed a 1-1 draw in Cairo Stadium against championship holders Al-Ahli.
The Tunisians, who have never won the African Champions League tournament, obviously had more willpower than ever before yesterday as they took on titleholders Al-Ahli and 85,000 incensed football fans.
To the home crowd’s disappointment, the cheering fans, the number of tournaments won by Ahli and the Egyptian national team in the past two years and the unbelievable amount of money each player has made all amounted to very little.
The first half ended with a one-goal lead thanks to midfielder Mohammed Abu Treika’s 27th minute lucky free kick, which deceived the players of both teams including Abu Treika himself.
As has become customary in Ahli games, the first half was just mediocre although it did open to a fast-paced, spirited start and the four-time African champions could have scored on a few occasions especially when Emad Meteb’s play strangely missed the Tunisian goal.
By the second half, Ahli appeared winded and the crowd’s anger level began to rise especially when Tunisia’s Ghanian import Joetex Frimpong easily scored in the Egyptian net.
In what has started to become a trend for the Ahli club, the players seemed to fail to realize that a football game runs 90 minutes rather than 45. The Tunisians also showed their flawless talents at wasting time and irritating the Ahli players as well as the crowd until the game ended the way they wanted.
At the press conference following the game, Ahli’s coach, Manuel Jose seemed to lose his temper once more and obviously did not have much to say.
The second leg of the finals will be held in Tunisia’s Radis Stadium on Nov.11, but most Ahli diehards and Egyptian football fans are a tad short on patience and are grumbling that the outcome of that game is likely already known.