On Saturday, in the first leg of the CAF Champions League quarter-finals, Egyptian team Al Ahly secured a 2-0 home win against Morocco’s Raja, with goals scored by defender Mohamed Abdel-Moneim and second-half substitute Hamdy Fathy.
Al Ahly’s victory has positioned them favorably to advance to the semi-finals and pursue their goal of achieving an unprecedented 11th CAF Champions League title. With a win and a clean sheet, the Red Devils now have a comfortable advantage going into the return leg in Casablanca next week.
Raja came out strong in the beginning, applying early pressure on Ahly and coming close to scoring twice in the opening stages of the match.
In the fourth minute, Al Ahly’s goalkeeper, Mohamed El Shennawy, was put to the test, making a brilliant save from Mohammed Nahiri’s free-kick which was heading towards the top corner. Mohammed Azrida then had a one-on-one situation with El Shennawy, but the keeper denied him with a save fifteen minutes later, after a fault during Ahly’s build-up.
Despite the early pressure from Raja, the hosts managed to regain their composure midway through the first half and began pressing forward, encouraged by the support of over 50,000 fans at Cairo International Stadium. Hussein El Shahat fired from the edge of the box, but the ball went straight into the keeper’s hands. Mahmoud “Kahraba” Abdel-Moneim also scored, but the goal was disallowed due to offside.
Just before halftime, Abdel-Moneim managed to outdo his marker and connect with a precise cross from Ali Maaloul, powering a header into the back of the net, giving Al Ahly the lead.
Watch All the Goals here:
The second half saw Al Ahly maintain their dominance, but they had a hard time creating opportunities as Raja adopted a defensive stance. Coach Marcel Koller sought to improve his team’s performance by bringing in Mohamed Sherif and Hamdy Fathy, and it was the latter who rewarded his trust.
Fathy, an international midfielder, intercepted a chipped through ball from Percy Tau that had gone behind the defence, and volleyed it into the roof of the net with his left foot.