After a hard-fought match that exhausted normal time to see a penalty shootout, Al-Ahly emerged victorious over Cameroonian outfit Coton Sport de Garoua in the semifinal return leg of the African Champions league on Sunday.
With this 7-6 victory, Al-Ahly is now on course to their ninth CAF final where they are set to meet South Africa’s Orlando Pirates, who recently defeated Tunisia’s Esperance in the semifinal.
The first leg saw Ahly and Coton Sport draw 1-1 in a game that had been initially delayed on the back of inclement weather. Once underway, Ahly started the match comfortably in Gouna stadium with an away goal advantage. Scoring on the 3rd minute, midfielder Abdallah Al-Said jumped past defenders to head a trademark Sayed Mowad cross. It was the first attack on the Cameroonian goal. With a 2-1 aggregate lead and signs of red devil domination, the match appeared to be in Ahly’s back pocket. Not until after the 20th minute did the Cameroonians start retaliating, only to have their attempts blocked by goalkeeper Sherif Ekramy.
The momentum continued, however, and the second half saw real domination from Coton. Shehab al Din Ahmed was booked for a challenge against Jusly Boukama-Kaya, who was in a one on one situation with the Ahly keeper.
The Cameroonians finally found the net to score the equaliser, complicating matters for the Egyptians. Kada Yougouda infiltrated the Ahly box to score from a low cross.
With normal time exhausted, CAF regulations put the two teams head to head in a penalty shoot-out to decide the winner.
Abu Trika missed the first penalty after his shot hit the crossbar, and Yougouda’s mid goal shot was saved by Ekramy. In the sudden death penalty phase, Jacques Haman missed his penalty assuring Ahly’s place in the final.
In local football, Zamalek SC thrashed second division Tanta 4-0 in the 16th round of the Egyptian Cup.
Players finding a place on the score-sheet included winger Ahmed Eid AbdelMalek (20th minute), Hazem Emam (29th minute), striker Ahmed Gaafar (60th minute), midfielder Ahmed Ali (72nd minute) in an easy game for the whites. Zamalek last won the competition in 2008.
Zamalek are set to meet Entag Al-Harby in the quarterfinal on the 27th of October in Gouna Stadium. Other games include Ismaili Al-Qana on Wednesday.
Ahly decided not to partake in this year’s Egyptian Cup competition.