Ahly win shootout to reach African Champions League final

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Holders Al-Ahli won a penalty shootout 7-6 to beat Coton Sport of Cameroon on Sunday and go into next month’s African Champions League final.

A 1-1 draw in the second leg of their semi-final in el-Gouna meant the two clubs had ended 2-2 on aggregate after a similar score in the first leg two weeks ago.

Ahli remain on course to retain their title and extend their record number of successes in the continent’s top club competition when they meet Orlando Pirates of South Africa in the two-legged final next month.

Abdullah al-Saied scored after three minutes to give the Egyptian club the perfect start, leaping above two defenders to head home a sweeping cross from Sayed Moawad in one of the first attacks of the game on a bumpy and dusty pitch in the Red Sea resort.

Ahli, who rested three internationals involved in Egypt's 6-1 loss to Ghana in Tuesday’s World Cup qualifying play-off, had several chances to extend the lead in the opening half-hour but Coton Sport got a well-deserved equalizer in the 65th minute.

A sweeping move down the left ended with a cross that allowed Alexis Yougouda to score his seventh goal of the campaign, sliding home the ball from close range.

In the shootout, Mohamed Aboutrika missed the first kick for Ahli but his team mates scored from the next seven. The decisive miss came from Jacques Haman.

The match was played behind closed doors because of a spectator ban for Ahli following recent crowd violence. Their coach Mohamed Youssef was also banished to the stands after being sent off during the first leg in Garoua two weeks ago.

Ahli have won seven previous Champions League titles, making them African football’s most successful club.

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