Giants Al Ahly bow out of CAF Champions League

Losing by four goals on aggregate equalled the worst performance by Ahly in Africa
CAF Champions league
Al Ahly’s Hussein Elshahat (L) controls the ball during the second leg of the CAF Champions League quarter final football match between Egypt’s Al-Ahly and South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns at the Borg El Arab Stadium in Borg El Arab, near Alexandria on April 13, 2019. (Photo by Ahmed RAMADAN / AFP)

African giants Al Ahly of Egypt made a tame exit from the CAF Champions League Saturday, edging Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa 1-0 but losing the quarter-final 5-1 overall.

In the semi-finals, the South Africans will face Wydad Casablanca of Morocco and defending champions Esperance of Tunisia meet TP Mazembe from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Sundowns built an unexpectedly big 5-0 first-leg lead last weekend, leaving heavily-decorated Ahly needing to stage the greatest comeback in the 55-year competition to survive.

When the Egyptian side failed to score in the first half at the Borg el Arab Stadium near ancient Mediterranean city Alexandria, the writing was on the wall.

The record eight-time Champions League winners finally broke down the resilient Sundowns defence on 68 minutes when Walid Azaro nodded an Ahmed Fathy cross past Denis Onyango.

But that was as good as it got for the hosts, who have won an unprecedented 19 CAF competitions, eight more than Mazembe.

Ugandan Onyango starred for Sundowns, making a string of brave saves, especially in the second half when Ahly laid siege to his goalmouth.

It was third time lucky for Sundowns against Ahly after losing to them in the 2001 final and a 2007 qualifier.

The Pretoria outfit won the Champions League in 2016 and the margin of victory will raise hopes that they can become the first South African club to lift the trophy twice.

Losing by four goals on aggregate equalled the worst performance by Ahly in Africa — a 4-0 overall defeat to Enugu Rangers of Nigeria 16 years ago in the now defunct CAF Cup.


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