Primeiro Agosto edged towards a maiden appearance in the Caf Champions League final after stunning Esperance 1-0, as Al-Ahly dismissed ES Setif
Substitute Pedro Bua scored late to separate Primeiro Agosto and Esperance in a Caf Champions League semi-final, first leg match in Luanda on Tuesday.
The only team in this round to have never won the competition, Primeiro Agosto’s fairytale run in the Champions League continued.
With the Angolans having mastered the art of frustrating opponents away from home, Esperance could be staring at the exit door ahead of the return fixture later this month.
Agosto held strong Tunisian opposition Etoile du Sahel 1-1 in Sousse in the group stages, before another brave showing that saw them forcing a similar result away at TP Mazembe, to storm into the semi-finals recently.
Now they return to Tunisia to face two-time African champions Esperance enjoying a 1-0 advantage in the second leg.
Agosto’s Serbian coach Zoran Manojlovic and his men could be already seeing themselves in the final after Bua rose from the bench to hammer in the decisive goal 10 minutes from time past Esperance goalkeeper Rami Jridi.
It was a difficult night for the Tunisians who had defender Khalil Chemmam sent off in injury time and will miss the second leg at home.
While Agosto struggled to create chances especially in the first half, they did well to restrict their visitors from grabbing an away goal with some steely defensive efforts.
So far, the possibility of seeing Agosto and Al-Ahly meeting in the final is not far off after the record African champions beat ES Setif 2-0 in the other semi-final match. in Cairo on Tuesday.
Walid Soliman and Islam Mohareb scored in the first half to seal the game for Al-Ahly, who are now on course for a second straight appearance in the final.
With ES Setif entering into this contest as a potential hazard after eliminating defending champions Wydad Casablanca, whom they frustrated in Morocco in the quarter-finals, Al-Ahly had every reason to be cautious.
But Patrice Carteron and his men emerged victorious in this disciplined contest that saw no yellow cards flashed to either side.
Soliman opened the account for Al-Ahly when he headed in Ahmed Hamoudi’s delivery in to the penalty area 23 minutes into the match, as it looked almost obvious that the night belonged to the Egyptians.
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With four minutes before the break, Mohareb doubled the hosts advantage by profiting from some awful defending by Setif to beat goalkeeper Moustapha Zeghba, who aided the ball to cross the line with a desperate effort to make a save.
The second half saw the match getting beyond the reach of Setif, who last won the Champions League four seasons ago.
With Setif having not been much stronger at home where they lost 2-1 to fellow Algerians MC Alger and held 1-1 by TP Mazembe in the group phase, Al-Ahly could be fancying their chances of finishing off their opponents in the second leg.