Ahly stay on track for third straight CAF Champions League title

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South Africa-born Al Ahly coach Pitso Mosimane gestures during the first leg of a CAF Champions League semi-final against Entente Setif in Cairo on May 7, 2022. (AFP/Khaled DESOUKI) (Khaled DESOUKI)
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Mohamed Sherif equalised in added time for Al Ahly of Egypt as they drew 2-2 at Entente Setif of Algeria on Saturday to stay on course for an unprecedented third straight CAF Champions League title.

Ahmed Abdel Kader put Ahly in front after only two minutes of the semi-final second leg before goals either side of half-time from Ahmed Kendouci and Riad Benayah edged Setif ahead.

But two-time African champions Setif were denied the consolation of a home victory in Algiers when South African Percy Tau set up Sherif to equalise.

Ahly won the semi-final 6-2 on aggregate having built a four-goal first-leg lead in Cairo last weekend, and will face long-time rivals Wydad Casablanca of Morocco in the May 30 final.

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) have scheduled the title decider in the premier African club competition for Morocco, saying they were the only bidders.

However, record 10-time champions Ahly want the match staged at a neutral venue and have appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland to overturn the CAF decision.

Ahly and Wydad met in the 2017 final with the Moroccans winning 2-1 on aggregate over two legs, before single-match finals were introduced two seasons ago.

CAF say they will consider reverting to two-leg Champions League finals, but are adamant that the 2022 title decider must go ahead in Morocco.

- Hopeless task -

Tau scored twice and created the other two goals in the first leg and his pass put Abdel Kader through to fire past goalkeeper Sofiane Khedairia less than two minutes after the kick-off.

The goal left Setif needing to score at least six to pull off the greatest comeback in Champions League history.

That was never going to happen against opponents as formidable as Ahly, who have won 23 titles across four CAF competitions.

Instead, the Black Eagles sought the consolation of a home victory over the Red Devils and drew level as half-time approached.

Kendouci turned in the box and unleashed a hard, rising shot that flew into the net past captain and goalkeeper Mohamed el Shenawy off the underside of the crossbar.

Benayah notched his fifth goal in Africa this season to give Setif the lead just past the hour mark, beating El Shenawy with a shot from outside the box that flew into the net off the surface.

Substitute Sherif then spoilt the pending victory celebrations of Algerian supporters with his sixth goal -- one less than Champions League leading scorer Tiago Azulao from Angolan club Petro Luanda.

On Friday, Petro exceeded expectations by holding Wydad to a 1-1 draw in Casablanca in the other second leg, but the Moroccans advanced 4-2 on aggregate to their third final appearance in six seasons.

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