By Moutaz Mohamed Ali.
Tripoli, 30 March 2014:
Ahly Benghazi brought joy to the whole of Libya last night by winning . . .[restrict]the return match against Ahly Egypt 3-2 in the 16th leg round of this year’s Orange CAF Champions League. Having beaten the powerful Egyptian team who are current CAF champions 1-0 in Tunis a week ago, Benghazi now goes through 4-2 on aggregate to the mini-league stage.
The game was played at the Air Defence stadium in Cairo a day and a half after the venue was suddenly switched. Ahly Benghazi flew to Alexandria four days ago where the game was to have taken place. However, Ahly Egypt complained that Ahly Benghazi had booked into the same hotel as them and also that it was too noisy. As a result Ahly Egypt announced that the match was to be played in Cairo, forcing the Benghazi team to travel to the Egyptian capital just 24 hours before the start of the match.
Ahly Egypt started by attempting to score early. The hosts succeeded in doing so in the 38th minute with a goal by Mohamed Najib. But a minute and a half later, Benghazi’s Abdulrahamn Fetori scored an equalizer after Edward Sadomba from Zimbabwe – man of the match in the Tunis game – was obstructed by Egyptian captain Hosam Ashur in the box, resulting in the referee giving a penalty kick.
In the second half, 50 minutes into the match, an incredible shot from Faraj Abdulhafiz, the Benghazi team’s mid-field striker took the Benghazinos into the lead with a second goal. Minutes later, 18-year old Moataz El Mahdy killed the current CAF champions’ hopes after he scored a third goal in elegant style. The Egyptians managed to score their second goal in the 75th minute but it was too late to win.
“We fought hard out there and made everyone associated with this club proud,” Ahly’s Moses Orkuma from Nigeria was quoted by Cafonline.com as saying. “Libya is going through a lot and if this victory can bring some smiles and happiness to the people, it is good to be part of it.”
Ahly Benghazi will know who their opponents will be in the next round when CAF makes its draw on 29 April.