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CAF Champions League

Mosimane's Al Ahly claim narrow win against Raja Casablanca in Caf Champions League first-leg clash

3:39 AM IST 17/04/22
Pitso Mosimane of Al Ahly.
The accomplished mentor masterminded a victory over the Moroccan giants, who will fancy their chances at home in the second-leg clash

Pitso Mosimane's Al Ahly secured a 2-1 victory over Raja Casablanca in the Caf Champions League quarter-finals first-leg match at WE Al-Ahly Stadium in Cairo on Saturday night.

The South African coach was keen to ensure that the Champions League title holders returned to winning ways after they suffered their first loss of the season in the Egyptian Premier League when they lost 1-0 to Al Masry on April 9.

His compatriot Percy Tau started up top alongside Ahmed Abdelkader and last season's Champions League Golden Boot winner Mohamed Sherif, while Amir El Solia and Hussein El Shahat were deployed in midfield.

It took 13 minutes for Al Ahly to break the deadlock when El Solia beat goalkeeper Anas Zniti from the spot-kick to hand Al Ahly a 1-0 lead after the hosts were awarded a penalty. 

Tau was the Red Eagles' livewire and he created chances for his teammates. The Bafana Bafana international set up Sherif, whose headed effort was fantastically parried away by Zniti from close range. 

The hosts did double their lead in the 23rd minute when Tau played a low cross for El Shahat and the Egypt international beat Zniti with a low shot from inside the visitors' box to make it 2-0 to Al Ahly.

However, Mosimane's charges lost concentration in first-half stoppage time and they conceded as Mohamed Azrida fired past keeper Mohamed El Shenawy to make it 2-1 heading into the break.

Mosimane introduced Hamdi Fathi prior to the start of the second half and the experienced central midfielder stamped his authority in midfield as Al Ahly looked to restore their two-goal lead.

Pressure mounted on Raja, who conceded another penalty after Marouane Hadhoudi had committed a foul in the box and the defender was also sent off as the visitors were reduced to 10 players on the hour-mark.

El Solia stepped up and he was denied by Zniti from the spot-kick, much to the dismay of Mosimane and his technical team. The hosts continues to attack as they looked to take advantage of their numerical superiority.

However, Red Eagles were wasteful as Tau ballooned his effort over the crossbar with only Zniti to beat, before Taher Mohamed was brilliantly denied by the Raja goalkeeper in stoppage time and ultimately, Al Ahly won 2-1.

The two teams will meet in the second-leg encounter in Morocco on April 23 with a spot in the semi-finals at stake.