Al Ahly, the record champions, have secured their place in the TotalEnergies CAF Champions League final for the fourth consecutive time after defeating Tunisia’s Esperance 1-0 in Cairo on Friday night, sealing a 4-0 aggregate victory.
The only goal of the match was scored by Hussein Elshahat in the first half, propelling the Egyptian side, known as the Red Devils, to their sixth final in the past seven seasons.
After a cautious start, Al Ahly broke the deadlock in the 21st minute, with South African star Percy Tau once again playing a pivotal role. Following his brace in the first leg, Tau turned provider this time, delivering a superb defense-splitting pass to set up Elshahat, who calmly lifted the ball over the onrushing goalkeeper.
Esperance had an opportunity to respond three minutes later, but Mohamed Ali Ben Hamouda’s half-volleyed effort was deflected for a corner. With the Tunisians needing five goals to overturn the tie, time was running out for a comeback.
In the second half, Al Ahly opted for a more conservative approach, focusing on maintaining possession and frustrating Esperance, who were desperate for a goal. The Tunisian side came close to equalizing in the 71st minute through a counter-attack, as Ben Hamouda took advantage of the space left by Al Ahly’s attacking right-back Mohamed Hany. However, Moataz Zaddem failed to keep his shot on target, blasting it over the bar.
In the closing minutes of the game, Al Ahly had several opportunities to put the match beyond reach. Substitute Ahmed Abdelkader had a chance to seal the victory but couldn’t keep his shot low. Mahmoud Kahraba also tested the Esperance goalkeeper with a late effort, which was well saved.
Al Ahly will now await the winner of the match between defending champions Wydad Athletic Club and South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns, which will take place on Saturday in Pretoria. In the previous season, Al Ahly faced Wydad and suffered a 2-0 defeat, relinquishing their title.