A dreadful late blunder by veteran keeper Denis Onyango gifted Ahly a 2-0 home victory over South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns in the first leg of the African Champions League quarter-final on Saturday.
Ahly coach Pitso Mosimane emerged the winner from his first game against his ex-club, whom he led to the Champions League title in 2016 and a host of domestic honours in a highly-successful reign.
Winger Taher Mohamed Taher gave Ahly a first-half lead with a superb piledriver but the hosts laboured for much of the game, allowing Sundowns to dominate possession and move the ball around freely.
Ahly hardly created any chances at their Cairo venue and were heavily indebted to towering goalkeeper Mohamed El-Shennawi, who pulled off some fine saves to keep Sundowns at bay.
Just when Sundowns poured forward en masse in search of an equaliser, Onyango charged out of his area and completely mis-judged an innocuous long ball, leaving substitute Salah Mohsen with an easy tap-in into an empty net with one minute remaining.
Ahly, who are eyeing a second consecutive Champions League crown, will be favourites to advance to the semis when they face Sundowns in Pretoria next week.
In South African, Kaizer Chiefs hammered Tanzanian champions Simba FC 4-0 on Saturday in the first leg of the African Champions League quarter finals to move within touching distance of a first ever semi-final appearance.
It took them only six minutes to break the deadlock as Eric Mathoho headed home from a corner before Serbian striker Samir Nurkovic doubled the lead in the 34th minute with a powerful header.
Nurkovic completed his double with a powerful long-range shot in the 57th minute and Leandro Castro completed the rout with another header from a pinpoint cross from Manyama seven minutes later.
Next week’s return leg should be a walk in the park for Kaizer Chiefs, whose best continental achievement was a Cup winners’ Cup triumph in 2001.