Egypt’s Ahly score away goal but lose 2-1 at Etoile in CL semi-final

Egypt’s Al-Ahly managed to score away from home but eventually lost 2-1 at Tunisia’s Etoile du Sahel in the CAF Champions League semi-final first leg in Sousse on Sunday.

The hosts took the lead through midfielder Alaya Brigui in the 16th minute, before substitute Saleh Gomaa managed to equalize with his first kick of the game six minutes after the hour mark.

Etoile, however, were able to score again in the 73rd minute through another midfielder in Mohamed Amine Ben Amor to emerge winners from the first leg.

Ahly, who overcame another Tunisians in Esperance with a 4-3 aggregate win in the last-eight, came into the game missing the services of midfield pillar Hossam Ashour due to injury.

The eight-time African champions host Etoile after three weeks at Alexandria’s Borg El-Arab Stadium.

The game started with high tempo, with Etoile pouring forward as they pressed in advanced positions and unreservedly pushed their full-backs forward.

The Tunisians had the upper hand in the center of the park, as Ahly’s midfield pair Amr El-Sulaya and Hesham Mohamed looked unable to cope with their opposite numbers.

Ahly, however, were the side to come close to scoring in the 13th minute, when left-sided winger Junior Ajayi saw a powerful volley go narrowly wide of the post.

But it was the Tunisian side who took the lead three minutes later, when a cross from the right was struck home by midfielder Brigui despite being marked by winger Walid Soliman.

Moroccan striker Walid Azaro continued to frustrate the Ahly fans with another wasted chance, after going one-on-one with the keeper, only to hit the side-netting.

With Ahly clearly struggling in midfield, Ahly manager Hossam El-Badry moved to make changes, replacing summer-signing Mohamed with right-back Mohamed Hani.

The substitution meant that Ahmed Fathi moved into midfield alongside Amr El-Sulaya, with Ahly now dictating play as their opponents backed off.

The real threat came from the home side though, with keeper Sherif Ekramy keeping away an effort from goal-scorer Brigui that the Ahly guardian should have arguably collected.

Playmaker Gomaa then came on at the expense of striker Azaro, and it was barely a minute after the former’s introduction that he scored the leveler for Ahly.

Capitalizing on a defensive blunder from defender Zied Boughattas, who easily conceded possession under pressure, Gomaa went one-on-one with the keeper before sliding home the equalizer.

Center-back Boughattas himself came close with a header following a corner, but it was Ben Amor who netted his side’s second in the 74th minute.

The midfielder unleashed a powerful low shot from long range, leaving keeper Ekramy with no chance, as the Tunisians managed to come up with a home win ahead of the return leg in Alexandria.

Source: Ahram online

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