Ahly and Sport on the cusp
© AFP

There remained an air of predictability about the CAF Champions League with Al Ahly continuing their march towards a fourth successive final, but surprise was nonetheless spread by Coton Sport. The Cameroonian champions put one foot in the decider by beating Dynamos 1-0 in Zimbabwe in the first leg of their semi-final.

Ahly kept Enyimba's formidable goal-getters in check en route to a goalless draw in Aba. The Egyptian giants and Coton Sport now sit on the verge of qualifying for next month's final, with home advantage to take into their second legs in a fortnight's time.

The contrast between the two could not be starker. Al Ahly are on course for a fourth successive final appearance - only achieved once before and almost four decades ago - and seek to win Africa's top club prize for a record sixth time. Their squad is filled with players for whom walking on to and off the winners' podium is now routine.

Coton Sport are in totally unchartered waters. They had never reached the league phase until this year's competition, but stunned neutrals with top place in Group B and now again a win over Dynamos. A goal from their Niger international Kamilou Daouda, his sixth of the competition, came in the 32nd minute and proved enough for a rare away victory.

Al Ahly made no excuses for setting out to frustrate Enyimba. Three defensive midfielders meant there was little room for Enyimba's much-vaunted forwards, but the Nigerians did have the best chance of the game five minutes from time. However, when Emeka Akueme was found unmarked with a cross from the left, he failed to make a decent connection, leaving his side with it all to do in Cairo.


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