Ahly and Agosto in command as final beckons
Return legs of the semi-finals of the CAF Champions League
Primeiro de Agosto and Al Ahly have the upper hand
Two-legged final to take place on 2 and 9 November
After knocking out TP Mazembe in the quarter-finals, Primeiro de Agosto are continuing to relish their role as CAF Champions League giantkillers. The Angolan club secured a valuable 1-0 home win in the first leg of their semi-final against Esperance de Tunis, another of the continent’s heavyweights, with Luvumbo Pedro Bua scoring the all-important goal 10 minutes from time. Les Sang et Or (“Blood and Gold”) will have a passionate 40,000 crowd cheering them on in the return at the Stade Olympique in Rades, however, and will believe in their chances of turning the tie around.
In the other semi-final tie, Al Ahly travel to ES Setif with a 2-0 advantage thanks to goals from Walid Soliman and Islam Mohareb in the first half of the first leg in Cairo. Yet, as the experienced Abdelmoumene Djabou has warned, the Algerians have the firepower to come back.
Both second legs will be played on Tuesday 23 October. The winners of the competition will qualify for the FIFA Club World Cup, to be held in the United Arab Emirates between 12 and 22 December.
Semi-final second leg fixtures
Esperance de Tunis-Primeiro de Agosto (23 October, 17.00 local time) ES Setif-Al Ahly (23 October, 20.00 local time)
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Though they have left themselves with a lot to do after their slow start in the first leg, ES Setif are never more dangerous than when under pressure. On the ropes in the group phase after losing away at TP Mazembe and then at home to MC Alger in their opening two matches, the Algerians came back to qualify for the knockout rounds.
Buoyed by their two-goal lead, Al Ahly are full of confidence ahead of their trip to Algeria, not least because they will have three players back from injury: defender Saad Samir and midfield duo Amr Elsoleya and Mohamed 'Mido' Gaber. On the downside, the Egyptians are still without their Nigerian forward Junior Ajayi and their Tunisian defender Ali Maaloul.
Primeiro de Agosto are the only one of the four semi-finalists never to have won the Champions League before. Opponents Esperance de Tunis have lifted the trophy twice previously (in 1994 and 2011), as have ES Setif, while Al Ahly have won it a record eight times.
Esperance de Tunis will have to make do without their captain and defensive mainstay Khalil Chammam for the return leg against the Angolan club. The Tunisian international picked up a red card at the end of the first leg for a professional foul, and his absence is sure to be felt by Les Sang et Or.