AL Ahli head to Tunisia this weekend for the first leg of the African Champions League final, with the Egyptian giants aiming to secure an unprecedented third successive title.
The Cairo-based side meet hosts Etoile Sahel in Sou
sse tomorrow, knowing that a draw or win would set them up nicely for the return leg in the Egyptian capital on November 9.
Chasing a record sixth triumph in the continent’s top club competition, Al Ahli would confirm their status as Africa’s most successful side with a victory over the Tunisians, who are looking for their first title.
The tie is a repeat of the 2005 final in which Al Ahli were also away in the first leg, holding on for a goalless draw before winning the return leg 3-0 in Cairo. Al Ahli’s plans for a repeat performance this year have been hit, however, by an injury to Angola international wing back Gilberto, who misses the match.
Gilberto, who made a dramatic comeback earlier this year after an 18-month layoff, has suffered a reoccurrence of his troublesome Achilles tendon problem.
Etoile Sahel have set a new benchmark with their fifth appearance in a continental club competition final in as many years and they will be hoping to improve on their Champions League final losses of 2004 and 2005.
Coached by Frenchman Bertrand Marchand, Etoile Sahel plan to start with three strikers tomorrow, handing the pivotal central role to teenager Amine Chermiti, who has scored seven goals in this year’s competition. — Reuters.