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CAF Champions League | Final | 2nd Leg
May 25, 2024 at 6pm UK
New Suez Stadium

Al Ahly
1 - 0
ES Tunis

Aholou (4' og.)
FT(HT: 1-0)

Aholou (20'), Miguel Azevedo Cardoso (21'), Ogbelu (86'), Ben Hmida (90+5'), Ben Hmida (90+5')

Preview: Al Ahly vs. Esperance Tunis - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's CAF Champions League clash between Al Ahly and Esperance Tunis, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

The battle for the 2023-24 CAF Champions League title goes down to the wire as Al Ahly and Esperance Tunis square off at the Cairo International Stadium in the second leg of the final on Saturday.

With last week's reverse leg ending in a stalemate, the stakes are high for both sides as the title remains up for grabs and this makes for an exciting battle this weekend.

Match preview

Al Ahly's Hussein El-Shahat celebrates scoring their second goal with teammates on December 15, 2023© Reuters

The road to the Champions League final has been a relatively smooth one for a talented Al Ahly side as they enjoyed an unbeaten group-stage campaign to finish top of Group D with 12 points from six games.

Al Ahly made light work of Simba SC in the quarter-finals as they secured a comfortable 3-0 aggregate victory to send the Tanzanian powerhouse crashing out of the continental showpiece.

Following a goalless draw with South African side TP Mazembe in the first leg of their semi-final showdown, Marcel Koller's men turned in a superb team performance in the return leg one week later as they cruised to a 3-0 victory to reach a sixth final in the last seven years.

With nothing to separate the sides heading into the closing stages of the game, Al Ahly upped the ante as Mohamed Abdelmonem, Wessam Abou Ali and Akram Tawfik all found the back of the net to cap off an impressive team display and send Lamine N'Diaye's men packing.

The Red Devils went into the first leg of the final seeking to place one hand on the title and win the continental crown for a 12th time but were guilty of a lack of cutting edge in front of goal as they played out a goalless draw with Tunisian heavyweights Esperance Tunis last Saturday.

A total of 20 shots were fired between the sides at the Stade Olympique Hammadi Agrebi, but with just one attempt on target, neither goalkeeper would end up picking the ball out of the back of the net, and a draw was certainly a fair result upon reflection

With last weekend's result, Al Ahly have now gone 19 back-to-back games without defeat in the CAF Champions League, claiming 12 wins and seven draws while keeping 16 clean sheets and conceding just three goals in that time.

Having come out of Tunisia unscathed, Al Ahly will be backing themselves to secure their fourth Champions League title in the last five years given their impressive run against Esperance.

Al-Ahly's Kahraba celebrates scoring their second goal with teammates on June 4, 2023© Reuters

The 11-time Champions League winners are unbeaten in each of their last 11 home games against the Tunisian outfit, claiming five wins and six draws, and have won all but one of their seven home games since the turn of the year, with a 2-2 draw with ENPPI on April 8 being the exception.

Esperance Tunis also enjoyed a solid group-stage run as they finished second in Group C with 11 points from six matches, before edging out Ivory Coast side Mimosas on penalties after a goalless draw over both legs.

The Red and Yellow put up a more convincing display in the semi-finals, beating Mamelodi Sundowns 1-0 at home on April 20, one week before securing a 1-0 victory in South Africa to claim a 2-0 aggregate win.

Following last Saturday's final first-leg result, Esperance Tunis and Al Ahly have now become the first two sides to ever go nine consecutive games without conceding in CAF Champions League history.

Back home, Miguel Cardoso's men currently sit at the top of the Tunisian Ligue 1 championship round standings with 17 points from seven matches, five points clear of second-placed Monastir.

However, Esperance Tunis' dreams of doing the domestic double came to an end on May 8, when they fell to a shock 2-1 extra-time defeat against Ligue 2 side Oceano Club De Kerkennah in the round of 32 at the Stade Taieb Mhiri.

Esperance head into Saturday's crucial tie in search of their fifth CAF Champions League title and their first since 2019, when they beat Moroccan outfit Wydad Casablanca in the final.

The Tunisian outfit will also be looking to make it two consecutive Champions League final victories over Al Ahly, having secured a 4-3 aggregate win when both sides faced off in the final back in 2018.

Al Ahly CAF Champions League form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • D

Al Ahly form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D

Esperance Tunis CAF Champions League form:
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D

Esperance Tunis form (all competitions):
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • D

Team News

Al Ahly coach Marcel Koller on December 18, 2023© Reuters

Al Ahli suffered a huge injury setback in last Saturday's first leg, with Ali Maaloul tearing his Achilles tendon inside the opening seven minutes, and the veteran defender is set for an extended period on the sidelines.

In his absence, 24-year-old Karim Fouad should come into the fold teaming up with Abdelmonem, Mohamed Hany and club captain Rami Rabia at the defensive end of the pitch.

The Egyptian side will also have to cope without the attacking trio of Ahmed Abdelkader, Taher Mohamed and Tunisian striker Mohamed Dhao, who are all recuperating from injuries.

Al Ahly will be boosted by the return of Senegalese midfielder Aly Dieng, who was an unused substitute in the first leg, and we expect the 26-year-old to team up with Emam Ashour, Marwan Attia and Tawfik at the centre of the park.

Experienced forward Hussein El Shahat, who has three Champions League goals under his belt, should retain his role at the attacking end of the pitch, teaming up with former Brighton and Hove Albion man Percy Tau.

Off the back of another solid defensive performance, we expect to see an unchanged Esperance back four of Mohamed Ben Ali, Yassine Meriah, Mohamed Tougai and Amine Ben Hamida, with Amanallah Memmiche starting between the sticks once again.

Skipper Ghaylene Chaaleli and Togolese international Roger Aholou should form the two-man midfield anchor once again, with Yan Sasse, Houssameddine Ghacha and Houssem Teka forming the Tunisian attacking quartet.

With three goals and one assist to his name, Sasse currently ranks second in the Champions League goal-involvements chart this season and the former Wellington Phoenix man will be one to keep an eye on.

Al Ahly possible starting lineup:
Shobeir; Fouad, Abdelmonem, Rabia, Hany; Ashour, Dieng, Attia, Tawfik; El Shahat, Tau

Esperance Tunis possible starting lineup:
Memmiche; Ali, Meriah, Tougai, Hamida; Aholou, Chaaleli; Sasse, Teka, Ghacha; Rodrigues

SM words green background

We say: Al Ahly 1-0 Esperance Tunis

Al Ahly and Esperance Tunis have been tough to crack at the defensive end of the pitch and we expect another cagey affair at the Cairo International Stadium. However, playing on home turf should give the Koller's men a 12th-man advantage and we see them coming away with all three points with their home supporters cheering them on.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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Group A

Q Germany Germany22006
2 Switzerland Switzerland21104
3 Scotland flag Scotland20111
4 Hungary Hungary20020

Group B

Q Spain Spain22006
2 Italy Italy21013
3 Albania national flag Albania20111
4 Croatia Croatia20111

Group C

1 England flag England21104
2 Denmark Denmark20202
3 Slovenia Slovenia20202
4 Serbia Serbia20111

Group D

1 Netherlands Netherlands21104
2 France France21104
3 Austria Austria21013
4 Poland Poland20020

Group E

1 Romania Romania11003
2 Ukraine Ukraine21013
3 Slovakia Slovakia21013
4 Belgium Belgium10010

Group F

Q Portugal Portugal22006
2 Turkey Turkey21013
3 Czech Republic Czech Republic20111
4 Georgia Georgia20111

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