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Al Ahly of Egypt is set to clash with Esperance from Tunisia in the final of the CAF Champions League

The upcoming CAF Champions League final will showcase a showdown between reigning champions Al Ahly of Egypt and their perennial rivals Esperance of Tunisia, set to unfold across two legs in May.

In a dominant display, Al Ahly triumphed over TP Mazembe from the Democratic Republic of Congo with a resounding 3-0 victory in Cairo during the semi-final, mirroring their aggregate scoreline following a goalless first leg the previous Saturday.

Meanwhile, Esperance faced a relentless challenge from South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns in Pretoria but managed to secure a crucial 1-0 win, advancing 2-0 overall after a prior 1-0 victory at home.

The goals from Mohamed Abdelmonem, Wessam Abou Ali, and Akram Tawfik in the second half propelled Al Ahly toward their quest for an unprecedented 12th triumph in the prestigious African club competition.

Esperance’s Raed Bouchniba, coming off the bench, netted a decisive goal twelve minutes into the second half against Sundowns, extending the match to 190 minutes following a weather-related interruption in the first half.

This upcoming final marks the third meeting between Al Ahly and Esperance in the Champions League final, with Al Ahly emerging victorious in 2012 and Esperance claiming victory in 2018. Last season, they clashed in the semi-finals, with Al Ahly securing a 4-0 aggregate triumph.

Both teams have showcased formidable defensive prowess, with 11 clean sheets in 12 qualifying, group, and knockout matches combined.

Esperance, eyeing their fifth Champions League title, will host the first leg in Rades on May 18, followed by the return fixture in Cairo seven days later.

Despite Sundowns’ valiant efforts against Esperance, including shots hitting the woodwork and close opportunities for Namibia captain Shalulile, Esperance capitalized on the moment with Bouchniba’s decisive strike.

Since clinching their sole Champions League title in 2016, Sundowns have reached the semi-finals three times but fell short on each occasion against North African opponents.

In Cairo, Joel Beya’s early second-half goal for Mazembe was disallowed before Abdelmonem’s powerful header from a corner opened the scoring on 68 minutes.

Abou Ali then sealed the victory on 83 minutes with a superb finish from Maaloul’s cross, followed by Tawfik’s added-time strike, securing Al Ahly’s passage to the final.

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