CAF Champions League: Al Ahly ask for neutral venue for final
Al Ahly have demanded a neutral venue for the African Champions League final after beating Algeria’s Entente Setif in the first leg of their semi-final.
The defending champions easily beat visitors Setif, who were reduced to ten men after 35 minutes, 4-0 with the second leg of the tie set to be played on Saturday.
In Saturday’s other semi-final Morocco’s Wydad Casablanca beat hosts Petro Atletico of Angola 3-1.
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) is yet to name a host for final, which is now a one-off match rather than played over two legs as it was historically.
Egyptian side Ahly have written to the Confederation of African Football (CAF) saying that the final “should not be hosted by one of the countries of the four teams competing in the semi-finals.”
The letter added that “a neutral venue will provide equal chances for the four teams.”
The 10-time African champions argue that “since CAF did not choose the hosting country in an earlier stage, giving one of the four teams the home advantage in the final contradicts the fair play standards.”
South Africa strike Percy Tau opened the scoring on the half-hour mark for Ahly with Amir Karaoui sent off five minutes later.
Karaoui saw red after stamping on the foot of Hussein el Shahat, with the referee changing an initial yellow card to red after viewing the foul on the VAR monitor.
Tau added his second in the final minute of the match with Taher Mohamed and Mohamed Sherif scoring as well.
In the other last-four tie there was an unfortunate start for Petro’s Brazilian captain Tiago Azulao, who put the ball into his own net in the 16th minute.
Wydad’s other goals came from their captain Yahya Jabrane and Congo-Brazzaville’s Guy Mbenza.
The hosts pulled one back with nine minutes left to play through veteran substitute Job.
To progress, Petro will have to score at least three goals in the second leg this Friday in Casablanca, where they were crushed 5-1 by Wydad in a group match last month.
However, the Angolans will travel to Morocco on Friday without Brazilian midfielder William Soares, who was red-carded in added time after being cautioned twice.
In the CAF Confederation Cup semi-finals South Africa’s Orlando Pirates and DR Congo’s TP Mazembe hold advantages after victories in Sunday’s semi-finals.
Innocent Maela and Goodman Mosele scored inside 30 minutes as Pirates swept to a 2-0 win at Al Ahly Tripoli of Libya.
TP Mazembe left it late for their win, with 19-year-old John Bakata scoring in added time to earn the win over visiting Renaissance Berkane of Morocco.