Egyptian giants, Al Ahly, completed the semifinals pack on Saturday, as they defeated Guinean champions Horoya 4-0 at Cairo based El-Salam Stadium to advance on the same aggregate score, having forced a goalless first leg draw in Conakry last weekend.
A first half goal from Waleed Suleiman and three more after the break from Islam Mohareb, Salah Mohsen and Ahmed Fathy proved Al Ahly too much for their visitors Horoya, as the last year finalists guaranteed yet another last four place.
Being hit by a series of injuries that forced their French trainer Patrice Carteron to field an obligatory lineup, Al Ahly started the game fast and could have broken the deadlock after five minutes when Malian defender Salif Coulibaly’s header missed the target narrowly. Five minutes later Suleiman’s shot found the visitors’ goalkeeper Khadim N’diaye in place to deny the veteran winger from scoring.
But Suleiman was the one to break the deadlock at the half hour mark. Ahmed Hamoudy weaved round his marker to send a low cross to Suleiman who fired Al Ahly into the lead, amidst joy from almost 20,000 supporters in an almost packed stands.
The visitors tried to grab a vital equalizer, but they found Ahly’s goalkeeper Mohamed Elshennawy alert to all their cross balls, to see the first half ending with a 1-0 lead for the home team.
Al Ahly came back much stronger in the second half, and needed just seven minutes to double their tally. Suleiman turned from scorer to provider when his low cross found Mohareb who doubled Ahly’s lead.
Salah Mohsen who was the one to blame in the first leg after missing two sitters came as a substitute after 65 minutes, and he needed just a couple of minutes to grab himself a superb goal. Suleiman once again was the man to thank when he found Mohsen, and the youngster fired an unstoppable shot to send relief and joy to the Red Devils’ supporters.
And deep into the injury time, veteran Ahmed Fathy found his way behind Horoya defenders to score Ahly fourth of the night and guarantee their semifinal spot.
Record eight times champions Al Ahly now will face on two times winners ES Setif of Algeria in the last four.
Al Ahly coach, Patrice Carteron said in a post match interview that: “We learnt the lesson well after seeing favorites like TP Mazembe and Wydad bowing out on Friday. We’re thrilled by reaching the semifinals. Horoya is a good team, but we were the better side and deserved to win. Yes we had many absentees but this didn’t bother me because anyone who plays does his job well. This year’s Champions League is different, and we declared our intentions from the start; we want to win the title. I’d like to thank our supporters who are our No.1 weapon.”
Horoya coach, Victor Zvonka, on his part said :“We reached this stage for the first time ever, and we had the dream to be in the last four, but we faced a highly experienced and strong team in Al Ahly. Their second goal killed the game, Ahly has many experienced and international players, while our side depends on young and inexperienced players. It’s a tough defeat looking to what we did this year, but I commend Ahly on their victory, it’s well deserved.”