After defeating Tunisia’s Esperance 1-0 in Cairo on Friday night to advance 4-0 on aggregate, record champions Al Ahly have earned a spot in their fourth consecutive TotalEnergies CAF Champions League final.
To win the victory at home and go to their sixth final in seven seasons, Hussein Elshahat scored the lone goal for the Egyptian Red Devils in the first half.
After a cautious beginning, Ahly broke the tie after 21 minutes, and once more it was the South African wizard Percy Tao who served as the principal orchestrator.
Three minutes after the turn, Esperance had a chance to respond; they now needed five goals to turn the match in their favor.
However, Mohamed Ali Ben Hamouda saw his effort on the half volley deflected for a corner.
In the second half, Ahly continued with their conservative approach, allowing Elshahat to get through on goal with a brilliant defense splitting pass. Elshahat then clipped the ball over the advancing keeper.
In the 71st minute, the Tunisians nearly equalized on a counterattack.
Ben Hamouda took advantage of the space left by right defender Mohamed Hany, who had been moving upfield in attack, by taking off on his wheels on the right.
Moataz Zaddem blazed his attempt over after he cut in a low cross into the area.
Ahly had a couple of chances to bury the game in the closing minutes. Ahmed Abdelkader, the substitute, finished a lovely run of play by the home team, but he was unable to keep his final shot low.
Mahmoud Kahraba also had a late opportunity, but the goalkeeper successfully blocked his attempt.
The Red Devils will now watch the outcome of Saturday’s match in Pretoria between the current champions Wydad Athletic Club and Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa.
Last year, they played Wydad, and they lost 2-0, giving up their crown.