Cameroon’s Coton Sport failed to take a lead over the Egyptian Red Devils in the replay of the semi-final first leg of the Caf Champions League in their home ground on Sunday
Cameroon representatives Coton Sport were forced to a 1-1 draw by title holders Al Ahly in the first leg of the Caf Champions League semi-final, which was replayed on Sunday in Garoua, a day after the game was suspended following bad weather conditions.
Despite better weather than yesterday, the pitch remained muddy, however, the home side were able to settle their play quicker than the visitors, who had to suck the early pressure for about ten minutes before finding their feet.
Kada Yougouda spearheaded Coton Sport’s first move but was flagged offside. And moments later, Jusly Boukama-Kaya came close to breaking the deadlock but his effort from edge of the area went wide of Sherif Ekramy’s post.
Ahly coach Mohamed Youssef preferred Sherif Abdel-Fadil in his starting eleven to Wael Gomaa, however, still relying on the pace of Sayed Moawad and Walid Soliman on the flanks.
Both sides struggled to find breaches in each other’s defence, but Ahly’s Mohamed Abou-Treika grabbed most of the clear-cut chances, although without success.
By the half hour mark, Coton Sport retook domination, launching a couple of breakaway efforts through the flanks, but crashing their sloppy finish against the Red Devils’ defence.
Emmanuel Mbongo outpaced Sherif Abdel-Fadil, claimed a long ball and side stepped another defender before sending a low shot past Ekramy to put the hosts ahead in the 33rd minute.
Ahly’s reaction was immediate. A left-wing cross from Sayed Moawad released Abdel-Zaher into the Coton Sport box but his far-post header was tipped over the crossbar by goalkeeper Maxime Feudjou.
A couple of other dangerous actions from Soliman and Abou-Treika failed to provide the leveller for Ahly, as men poured forth against the home side.
The Egyptians maintained the pressure until added time of the first half when Abou-Treika, after being put through by a sublime chip, superbly flicked the ball past his marker before stroking his effort past onrushing Feudjou to grab the equaliser.
Unfazed by Ahly’s comeback, Coton Sport began the second half in high spirit, putting together some neatly-worked passes that drifted from the middle of the park into the opposing back half. Aminou Bouba met a right-wing cross with a flashing header which floated inches away from dropping inside the net.
After a couple of futile goal attempts from both sides, Abou-Treika, was replaced by midfielder Mahmoud Hassan while Coton Sport introduced Daouda Kamilou into the fray.
A nervy Soliman bungled another goal chance for Ahly when he blasted a careless strike over the crossbar, although unmarked and with enough space around him.
Thereafter, Ahly coach Youssef was sent off by the referee for a noisy attitude on the touchline.
With ten minutes to the end of the match, both sides eased off, as though the scoreline was in favour of the teams.
Coton Sport took some dangerous steps to retake the lead, but Ahly’s firm defensive strategy thwarted the efforts till the final whistle.
History seemed to have repeated itself at the Roumde Adjia Stadium in Garoua where both sides clashed in the first leg of the 2008 Caf Champions League final that ended in a 2-2 draw.
The defending champions are now favoured to reach the final due to their away goal.