Egyptian giants Al Ahly returned to Group B top spot, after managing a home 1-0 victory over Tunisian rivals Etoile du Sahel in Cairo based Al Salam Stadium on Sunday evening.
Nigerian import Junior Ajayi scored the game’s lone goal after 32 minutes as Al Ahly raised their tally to 10 points, one more than Etoile and Sudan’s Al Hilal with a game to spare. Zimbabwe’s Platinum are eliminated with a single point.
The group will go on wire next weekend as everything is still to play for with Al Ahly, Etoile and Hilal all having qualification hopes.
The first chance fell to the visitors after five minutes when Salem Boukhancouche sent a screamer from outside the area, but it was brilliantly saved by Ahly’s goalkeeper Mohamed Elshennawy.
Ahly’s first attempt came via the left back Ali Maaloul, whose shot from a free kick went just wide.
Elshennway came once again to save the hosts when Karim Aribi found his way through defenders to go one on one, but Ahly’s goalkeeper and captain was up to the mission yet again.
A series of Ahly chances started at the half hour mark when Hussein El Shahat shot was denied by Etoile’s goalkeeper Achraf Krir. From the resulting corner the ball fell to Ramy Rabiaa, but Zied Boughattas cleared the ball just before crossing the line.
Two minute later Al Ahly broke the deadlock. An attack that started from Ahmed Elsheikh saw Maaloul’s cross reaching El Shahat, whose shot was cleared by Etoile’s skipper Ammar Jemal, but the rebound ball was sent to the back of the net from Junior Ajayi as Al Ahly took the lead.
Amr El Soleya could have doubled the hosts lead two minutes later but his shot was stopped over the line by Krir as the opening half ended with Al Ahly leading 1-0.
Marwan Mohsen tried to double Ahly’s lead ten minutes after the break, but his solo effort just missed the target.
Time passed with no serious chances for both sides, as Al Ahly managed to hold on their lead to go on top of the group and revive their qualification hopes.
Al Ahly will conclude their group stage campaign with a tricky trip to Omdurman to face Al Hilal next weekend, while Etoile entertains Platinum in Rades.