Holders Al Ahly stormed into the final of the TotalEnergies CAF Champions League after brushing aside 10-man Esperance 3-0 on the night and 4-0 on aggregate to book a date with Kaizer Chiefs for the July 17 grand finale.
Ali Maaloul’s penalty set the Red Devils rolling before second half goals from Mohamed Sherif and Hussein Elshahat cemented the victory for the home side at the AL Salaam Stadium in Cairo.
Esperance defender Ilyes Cheti was sent off in the first half leading up to Maaloul’s penalty.
Ahly got into the lead in the 38th minute off the penalty spot after a lengthy VAR check. Cheti was adjudged to have brought down Mohamed Taher inside the box as the last defender and referee Alioum Alioum gave the penalty and sent the defender early to the showers.
In the second half, Ahly were in total control of the game and within four minutes had sealed the victory. Sherif swept the ball home with a first time finish inside the box after a beautiful through pass from Mohamed Magdy Afsha.
Four minutes later, the home side were 3-0 up, but not before another VAR check. Afsha picked out Elshahat with a peach of a pass planted behind the defence, the latter doing the easiest of tasks of sweeping the ball home.
The second assistant referee had initially hoisted her flag for offside, but when the call was referred upstairs, the goal was given.
Ahly were in total dominance and they should have been 4-0 up in the 66th minute but Esperance keeper Moez Ben Cherifia made a superb one handed save to parry away a brilliant connecting shot from Sherif after he had been picked out by a cut back from Elshahat.
Ahly controlled the tempo of the game and managed to hold off for the clean-sheet and a ticket to the final.