Egyptian giants Al Ahly kept up their quest for a record-extending ninth African Champions League crown as they joined Moroccan side Raja Casablanca in this year’s semi-finals.
Ahly secured a 1-1 draw away to Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa in the second leg of their quarter-final on Saturday to book their place with a 3-1 aggregate win.
Raja Casablanca held on against TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo, progressing 2-1 overall despite losing 1-0 in Lubumbashi.
Record eight-time African champions Al Ahly went to South Africa with a 2-0 advantage against Mamelodi Sundowns from the first leg of their quarter-final, both goals scored by Ali Maaloul.
It was Maaloul again who caused problems for the South Africans as his shot was deflected into the net by Sundowns’ Lebohang Maboe in the 21st minute.
The hosts struck back six minutes later through Uruguayan midfielder Gaston Sirino to close the gap but Ahly held on to advance and avenge their 5-1 aggregate drubbing by Sundowns at the same stage last season.
Ahly will play the winners of Saturday’s late quarter-final second leg in Rades between Tunisia’s Etoile du Sahel and Morocco’s Wydad Casablanca who have a 2-0 first-leg advantage.
In Lubumbashi, five-times former winners TP Mazembe were thwarted by Raja Casablanca’s goalkeeper Anas Zniti who saved a late penalty.
After a tense first half, Mazembe – who trailed 2-0 from the first leg – grabbed a goal back through 16-year-old Isaac Tshibangu.
Mazembe continued to push for a second goal and had a superb chance when Jackson Muleka was brought down in the penalty box.
Muleka stepped up to take the spot-kick only for Zniti to save, putting Raja into the semi-finals.
Raja will now face Zamalek in the last four after the Egyptian side became the first team to reach this season’s African Champions League semi-finals.
They knocked out the holders Esperance of Tunisia 3-2 on aggregate in their quarter-final, despite losing the second-leg 1-0 in Rades on Friday.
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