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VIDEO: Al Ahly on brink of elimination after drawing with Zesco
The record eight-time champions League winners face a near-impossible task to qualify for the tournament’s semi-final as they currently sit third on five points, three away from leaders Zesco.
Al Ahly will be officially eliminated in case Wydad Casablanca, who sit second on seven points, beat ASEC Mimosas on Sunday.
A poor start cost Al Ahly an early goal as the Zambian champions took the lead five minutes after kick-off after Jesse Were took advantage of poor defending to head home from a cross.
The hosts pushed forward for a quick equaliser but Amr Gamal and Abdallah El-Said failed to convert the few Al Ahly chances into the net. Tunisian Ali Maaloul almost opened his Al Ahly’s scoring account as his free-kick went inches wide of the post in the 22nd minute.
The pressure paid off as Al Ahly levelled the score at the half-hour mark, after the Red Devils’ defender Rami Rabia scored from a corner.
The happiness of Al Ahly fans didn’t last long as five minutes later Zesco restored their lead after Jesse Were sidestepped a challenge from Saad Samir and slotted home to complete his brace.
The first half ended with a 2-1 lead for the guests as Gamal continued to squander chances.
Ten minutes into the second half, Al Ahly manager Martin Jol brought on veteran striker Emad Meteb to replace Amr Gamal, while Al Ahly captain Hossam Ghaly was subbed off ten minutes later to make way for former Ismaily striker Marwan Mohsen.
The hosts’ performance improved in the second half and were in almost total control yet failed to create dangerous chances to level the score. With 15 minutes to full time, Jol made his third substitution as Karim Nedved came on to replace Sabry Rahil.
Meteb almost scored an equaliser but Zesco’s striker Were made a goal-line clearance to maintain his side’s lead.
The veteran striker however scored a bicycle kick following a cross from El-Said, making it 2-2 with five minutes remaining to full time.
Al Ahly attempted to complete the comeback in the remaining minutes but failed as the game ended in a 2-2 draw. The Cairo giants need a miracle to make it to the next stage, as they now have to win their final away match against ASEC, while hoping that Wydad get only one point from their next two matches.