Ahly and Pirates ready for grand finale

Today Al Ahly     vs     Pirates        5:30pm SS4 CAIRO. Defending champions Al Ahly take a slight advantage into the second leg of the Champion's League final on Sunday after scoring an away goal to draw 1-1 in last week's first match.
The first leg in Cape Town last week ended in a 1-1 draw. Net photo
The first leg in Cape Town last week ended in a 1-1 draw. Net photo

Today
Al Ahly     vs     Pirates        5:30pm SS4
CAIRO. Defending champions Al Ahly take a slight advantage into the second leg of the Champion's League final on Sunday after scoring an away goal to draw 1-1 in last week's first match.

And the Egyptians have been allowed to host the game in Cairo, at the 30,000-capacity Arab Contractors Stadium - they have not played in the capital since April season because of security fears.

But the seven-time champions will have been disappointed to have conceded a late equaliser in Soweto - and Pirates are promising to continue their fight back in Cairo.

The South African side booked their place in the final courtesy of an away goal at Esperance of Tunisia after both teams were tied on 0-0 from the first clash at home.

And Ahly skipper Wael Gomaa has already warned that Pirates play better on the road and so must not be taken lightly.

"When Pirates play away from their ground, they play much better," said Gomaa, who will resume a key battle with Pirates striker Lennox Bacela.

"Their goal in the last minute will give us more courage to take the second game more aggressively and positively."

Bacela will be a key player for Pirates but he said they have to be more clinical in front of goal in Cairo.

"We failed to convert our chances (at home) and it cannot be the same in Egypt," said Bacela, whose team's first and only triumph in the competition was 18 years ago.

"Ahly will be tough to break. They have the experience but I think we have the will, pace and skills to unlock any defence and cause problems.

"We believe we can get something out of Sunday's game. The nation must also believe we can do so. Both teams have 90 minutes to decide... we will see who is the best team at the end of the match."

Ahly showed class and experience in the first leg final, as they took the lead through Mohamed Aboutrika in the 14th minute and restricted the Buccaneers to long-range shooting as they tried to get back on terms.

The South Africans eventually managed to snatch a stoppage time equaliser in front of their fans inside a packed Orlando Stadium.

"We have to try and break them down and I think we have the players and the ability to do so," said coach Roger de Sa.

Pirates were dealt a big blow after it was confirmed that stand-in skipper Happy Jele and Andile Jali were suspended for Sunday's showdown after they picked up their second bookings in the first game.

Jele's absence is now expected to throw open the door for skipper Lekgwathi, who has been frozen out for several weeks, to return at right back, and Lehlohonolo Masalesa is expected to replace midfielder Jali.

Africa's latest club champions will pocket a cash prize of $1.5m and feature at the Fifa Club World Cup in Morocco in December.

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