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The African Champions League 2001
Semifinal 1st leg match report
Al Ahly Cairo - Espérance Tunis

All groups, all matches:
African Champions League 2001
schedule + results
knock-out rounds
Group A
Group B
Semifinals + Final
Nov 4 1730 GMT
Al Ahly Cairo (Egypt) - Espérance Tunis (Tunisia)  0:0

1st half
-Al Ahly in blue stockings, white shorts, red shirts, Espérance in red stockings, black shorts, and red and yellow (gold) striped shirts, both teams wear their Coca Cola sponsor logos
-The first 25 minutes see fast and fluent football with a surprise domination of Al Ahly, agressive in midfield and variable attacking. The Egyptians work out a few half chances while Espérance have to go back to counter attacks. The visitors have fielded their Brazilian midfielders Adailton and Reinaldo while returner Kanzari and striker Ali Zitouni are not on the field.
The biggest chances so far for Al Ahly after 26 minutes when a shot wipes over the crossbar (Alaa Ibrahim had danced out the defence) and after 36 minutes a #30 attempt saved by the Espérance keeper and the second attempt by Tcherno rolls wide left with the keeper beaten.
After 43 minutes Al Ahly defender Ibrahim Said makes a mistake and loses the ball against Espérance #11 who has free way to the goal. He stops him by a foul and is lucky to see only yellow. The free kick is saved by the keeper, the lose ball is fired against the outside of the net (Reinaldo).
halftime 0:0
Al Ahly's rebuilt side looks much improved and dominated long periods of the first half. But Espérance have been able to hold them and are suggesting they might be able to use one of their rare opportunities. Especially as Al Ahly could pay tribute to their resource eating style of the first half and lose concentration towards the end of the match
2nd half
-Espérance with better control in the first 15 minutes but Al Ahly with a big opportunity, a 17 meter free kick after the Tunisian keeper accidentaly handled the ball outside the penalty are.
-substitue #9 Khaled Bibo came on for Al Ahly after 70 minutes to revive the Egyptian attacking game with a fulminant long range attempt (wide) and a brilliant through ball 5 minutes later which led to a short range attempt saved by the keeper. Espérance defence in immediate confusion allowed more big opportunities in the following seconds including one of the most spectacular scenes I can remember to have seen: 
an unbelievable bombardment of the Tunisian goal which sees a ball hit the crossbar, a second saved, a third  hitting the goalpost, a fourth saved and a fifth blocked for a corner, all in less than 10 seconds timespan ('78).
- 8 minutes to the end Espérance become dangerous on a set play, a free kick cross from the right, but have to survive further Al Ahly attacking waves in the final 5 minutes before the 90 minute mark.
5 minutes injury time are signaled and after a dangerous lookoing low short free kick by Al Ahly (goes wide) Espérance manage tu run out the clock
final score 0:0
An entertaining match with some good football despite the goal drought. Everything remains open for the second match with Espérance in the slightly better position.

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