Maaloul brace hands Ahly advantage over Sundowns

Tunisian left back Ali Maaloul struck twice within 12 minutes in the second half to give home side Al Ahly a precious 2-0 advantage over Mamelodi Sundowns at the Cairo International Stadium on Saturday night.

Maaloul handed the eight-time African champions victory at home with a well taken low effort 11 minutes after the restart before doubling the tally 12 minutes later from the spot. The victory hands Ahly a cushion ahead of the return tie in South Africa next week.

The hosts saw most of the ball dominated possession and had more chances in the exciting tie against a side that handed them their biggest ever continental defeat last season.

But it was the visitors came close barely 40 seconds into the game when Lebohang Maboe was picked out with a brilliant in-swinging cross by Gaston Sirino on the left but his sliding connection flew straight to Mohamed Elshanawy in the Ahly goal.

But from then on it was Ahly who dominated. Marwan Mohsen came very close with a pair of headers which went inches wide Sundowns keeper Dennis Onyango caught out in both.

His first was with a nifty connection off a freekick on the left which glanced just inches wide while minutes later he had another angled header from a Hussein El Shahat cross from the right.

Powered by a good crowd that had come out the Egyptian giants kept pushing and they came close with Mohamed Magdys shot from the edge of the area being deflected wide for a corner.

After the break it took the home side only 11 minutes to get their tails up Maaloul coming to the end of a beautiful interchange of passes with Junior Ajayi before tucking the ball home with a low finish inside the box.

He completed his brace in the 68th minute when he planted a penalty into the roof of the net after substitute Aliou Badji was tripped inside the box by Hlompho Kekana after another neat change of passes with Ajayi. The new signing had spent less than two minutes on the pitch.

With confidence beaming Ahly kept their pressure upfront and Walid Soliman had another effort with 20 minutes left but couldnt get enough curve on the ball with a curling effort from the edge of the area.

The Red Devils defended well to keep their advantage clear though Masandawana didnt do much to trouble their backline.

Source: Confederation Africaine de Football (CAF)

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