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Dubai – Yasmine El Tohamy – Al Ahly have put on foot in the group-stages of the 2021 CAF Champions League following a 1-0 away victory over Niger’s AS SONIDEP.
African champions Al Ahly opened their title defence campaign with a clash against Niger’s AS SONIDEP in the first round of the CAF Champions League.
Al Ahly had secured a historic Champions League title following a 2-1 victory over arch-rivals Zamalek just last November, thanks to Mohamed Magdy Afsha’s late winner.
They entered the first-leg of the AS SONIDEP game, which took place in Niger, with a much changed starting line-up after they had three of their players have tested positive for COVID-19.
The likes of Mahmoud Wahid, Yasser Ibrahim, Beckham, and Akram Tawfik have all had a chance to start the game from the start, with Cavin Johnson leading the game as Pitso Mosimane still yet to recover from COVID-19.
All of this didn’t affect Al Ahly performance as the Reds totally dominated the first-half, however, it was the low quality of the pitch was had a negative impact on the game.
34 minutes was the time it took the Egyptian champions to open the scoring after Aliou Dieng found a stray ball in the penalty box, before he struck it in the back of the net with his left foot.
The hosts had a chance to equalize just minutes later, but Mohamed El-Shennawy managed to save the ball to keep his side into the lead.
Al Ahly had two chances in the early minutes of the second-half, with the first one hitting the bar after a header from Badr Benoun and it was followed by another header from Mohamed Sherif, but the goalkeeper collected the ball.
In the 76th minute, Mohamed Sherif went one-on-one with the goalkeeper, but couldn’t find the net and the keeper parried his shot away.
Cavin Johnson made some changes to the Al Ahly team, bringing on the likes of Salah Mohsen, Geraldo, Ahmed Yasser Rayan for Kahraba, Taher Mohamed, and Mohamed Sherif.
Minutes before the final whistle, Hamdi Fathi had a chance to double his side’s lead, however, his shot went over the bar.
And seconds later, the hosts had their first real chance of the game after a shot from long range, but Mohamed El-Shennawy made a great save to earn his side the victory.
Both will now meet once again in the return-leg in Cairo on Wednesday, January 6.
Al Ahly will need to draw or win by any score in order to secure their spot in the group-stages of the competition.
Meanwhile, Egypt’s other representative Zamalek have already qualified for the group-stages after their opponent failed to arrive in Cairo on Monday.
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