Champions League: Junior Ajayi Peppers Sundowns as Al Ahly Secure first-leg Advantage

Champions League: Junior Ajayi Peppers Sundowns as Al Ahly Secure first-leg Advantage

Al Ahly scored two second half goals and secured a first-leg win over Mamelodi Sundowns in their CAF Champions League quarter-final tie on Saturday at the Cairo International Stadium.

Ali Maaloul scored a brace, the first from a Junior Ajayi assist and the other from the penalty spot after the Nigerian was upended, as Al Ahly put one foot in the semi-final.

 


 

The eight times winners of Africa’s most prestigious club competition suffered a heartbreak in their last meeting with the South African side.

 

A scandalous 5-0 first-leg defeat at the Lucas Masterpieces Moripe Stadium last season all but ended the Red Devil’s run in the competition.

 

They head back there for the return-leg this term and Head Coach René Weiler is certain Sundowns will be a different side at home than the one that lost on Saturday.

 

‘Sundowns have not lost out at home in this tournament, and the goal for us was to take a step towards qualifying for the semi-final. I am aware that Sundowns will appear differently during the return match,” he told the club’s website.

 

Weiler had time to discuss his team’s performance on the day against a solid opponent and what the victory meant.

 

“I don’t have much to say, but in general we won an important victory today in the first leg, and we have to close the file of this confrontation and think about the return match.

 

“We controlled the match, scored two goals, and we could have added the third goal, but in the end we won,” said Weiler.

 

Sundowns didn’t sit back against their host or should any intimidation with the seas of red that packed the bleachers in Cairo.

 

Before kick-off, Sundowns Coach Pitso Mosimane took in the scenery of what was a loud and alive home fans.

 

 

But for poor finishing his side could have taken something from the game, as they repeatedly caught the Al Ahly CBs napping on several occasions.

 

After 90 minutes despite enjoying the larger share of possession, Sundowns only managed one shot on goal to Al Ahly’s four.

 

That kind of dominance is what Weiler hopes to see in Pretoria as his team fly out on Sunday to the Southern hemisphere for a six-day head start.

 

“We thought and discussed, and we chose to travel early to South Africa, to be better prepared,” the Coach said.

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