Al Ahly beat Esperance de Tunis 3-1 in the Caf Champions League final first leg at Borg El Arab Stadium – Alexandria, Egypt Friday night to inch closer to elusive ninth title.
The game had historic significance as the controversial VAR technology was applied for the first time in Africa.
Algerian referee, Abid Cheref Mehdi, who was tasked with the historic moment awarded three penalties with the VAR confirming all but still there were murmurs.
The first went Ahly’s way with Walid Soliman converting for the opener in the 34th minute for a slim 1-0 lead at the breather.
Esperance had their best moment of the half when Chilane Chalali hit the woodwork with a thunderous shot.
Buoyed by a solid 60,000 crowd inside the 86,000 capacity facility, the hosts returned from the brake baying for more blood and managed to double the lead through Amro Elsoulia in 56th minute.
Esperance pulled one back from the spot with Belaili Mohammed converting in the 62nd minute after being fouled by goalkeeper Mohammed El Shenawy.
But Ahly regained the two goal cushion with the third penalty in the 76th minute which Soliman coolly slotted home for his brace.
Esperance will stage the second leg on 9 November in Tunis with the aggregate winner taking home the biggest prize in African football and a ticket to this year’s Club World Cup in the UAE.
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