After what has been a very long football season on the continent, the climax is here!
The tournament which kicked off in May with 16 teams now has only two left; the two teams set to play against each other over both legs of the final.
That’s right. For those who didn’t know, the final of the CAF Champions League is a two-legged affair, with both sides playing home and away. And the first leg is set to take place this weekend, specifically on Friday.
This weekend, Al Ahly of Egypt will host Esperance of Tunisia. The record nine-time African champions will look to use the massive home support they will be getting to get one over their North Africans rivals.
In preparation for this game, 60,000 fans have been allowed to attend Friday’s Champions League final. Most of them will be Al Ahly fans and will try to make life miserable for Esperance. But you can bet that the Tunisians will be expecting a hostile crowd and will be prepared for it.
After all, they are a North African side too and it’s just one of the ways the clubs up north use to get the better of opposition teams.
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The Tunisia-based outfit is no stranger to the CAF Champions League final. From 1999 till date, they’ve reached the final four times and made the semi-final four times too. Fair to say this is one final between the veterans of the final.
The question is: who will win?
During the group stages, both clubs only lost once. Coincidentally, both sides were drawn in the same group (Group A) for this year.
In the first meeting in May, both sides played out a draw. The first leg of their encounter, which was played in Egypt, ended in a goalless draw. The return leg which was played on MatchDay 5 saw Al Ahly defeat Esperance in Tunisia.
In all, both sides finished top of the group (Al Ahly first with 13 points and 9 goals scored followed by Esperance with 11 points and 8 goals scored).
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Since the turn of the century, both sides have face each other 16 times. 10 of those games ended with Under 2,5 goals. 6 ended in a stalemate with Al Ahly winning 7 of those fixtures. The last Esperance win came in 2011.
The odds seem to be stacked in favor of the Egyptians and heavily against the Tunisians. But we all know football can be funny, right? Being a final, anything can happen over 90 minutes.
So what do you think? Which of these two sides will win? Which of them would you back to get a first-leg win?
Leave us your comments and share your thoughts with us.