African Champions League: Ahly secure first-leg win over Jimaa

Caf Champions League trophy
African Champions League trophy

Egyptian giants Al Ahly, runners-up in the past two African Champions League finals, began the 2018/2019 season with a 2-0 win over Jimma Aba Jifar of Ethiopia on Friday.

Nasser Maher gave the record eight-time African champions an early lead in the round-of-30 first leg and Marwan Mohsen increased the advantage before half-time in Alexandria.

Ahly dominated Champions League debutants Jimma and could easily have doubled their tally with more clinical finishing.

Jimma did themselves no favours by arriving in Alexandria only 13 hours before the kick-off which meant they were unable to train ahead of the match.

A raft of injuries and suspensions left Ahly with only 16 players available, including just three defenders.

Among those missing was Moroccan striker Walid Azaro, who was banned for two African matches after deliberately tearing his shirt to win a penalty in the 2018 final.

In another first leg staged in Egypt, Al Nasr of Libya shocked 2018 quarter-finalists Horoya of Guinea 3-0 in Cairo with Moataz al Mehdi bagging a brace for the Benghazi outfit.

Al Mehdi took his African-competitions goal tally to six in three matches by opening the scoring on 26 minutes at the Petro Sport Stadium and completing the rout five minutes from time.

Earlier in the second half, Marius Assoko volleyed into his own net to deflate the visiting side, who had been on top at that point.

Nasr had to host Horoya in Egypt because of the security situation in Libya.

In Algeria, Kadour Beldjilali scored on 14 minutes to earn CS Constantine a 1-0 first-leg lead over Champions League debutants Vipers SC from Uganda.

A shot at goal deflected back to the Algerian and his drive from outside the box flew past the poorly positioned Ugandan goalkeeper.

There are a further five first legs on Saturday and seven on Sunday followed by the 15 return matches next weekend.

Holders Esperance received a bye into the group stage as they are representing Africa at the Fifa Club World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.

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