Early own-goal gives Ahly 12th CAF Champions League title

Author: AFP

An early own-goal by Roger Aholou gave Al Ahly of Egypt a tense 1-0 win over Esperance of Tunisia in Cairo on Saturday, and a record-extending 12th CAF Champions League title.

Ahly triumphed 1-0 on aggregate after a goalless first leg of the final to win back-to-back titles in the elite African club competition for a fourth time.

They also became only the third team to win the Champions League with an unbeaten record having won nine and drawn five of 14 qualifying, group and knockout matches

Victory for Ahly completed a double for Cairo clubs as arch rivals Zamalek won the second-tier CAF Confederation Cup last weekend. Ahly coach Marcel Koller made one enforced change from the first leg with Karim Fouad replacing Ali Maaloul, who went off injured after only seven minutes in Tunisia last weekend.

Goalkeeper Mostafa Shobeir, who had not conceded in eight matches ahead of the second leg after replacing injured captain Mohamed el Shenawy during the group stage, retained his place.

Esperance coach Miguel Cardoso, seeking the first trophy of his managerial career that included spells in his native Portugal, France, Spain and Greece, chose an unchanged side. Goalkeeper Amanallah Memmiche, who had kept 12 clean sheets in 13 previous Champions League matches this season, had to pick the ball out of the net after just four minutes in Cairo.

Ahly captain and centre-back Ramy Rabia headed a corner goalwards and the ball deflected off Esperance midfielder Aholou and into the corner of the net. Roared on by a predominantly red-clad sell-out crowd in the 75,000-capacity Cairo International Stadium, Ahly threatened to overwhelm Esperance with relentless attacks.

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