ES Setif beat Al-Ahly 2-1 at home in Tuesday’s Caf Champions League semifinal, second leg tie but that was not enough to overturn the 2-0 defeat they succumbed to in the reverse fixture in Cairo three weeks earlier.
Al-Ahly sailed through into the final on a 3-2 aggregate scoreline and will meet Esperance who overcame Primeiro Agosto 4-2 earlier in the evening.
After a goalless first half, Walid Soliman broke the deadlock to give Al-Ahly the lead with a crucial away goal, as he continued with his fine semifinal form, having been on target again in the first leg.
But Setif tried to claw their way back into the match with goals inside five minutes from Mohamed Bakir and substitute Houssam Ghacha.
Not to surrender their lead and allow a collapse similarly to that suffered by Primiero Agosto earlier on, Al-Ahly held on to march into the final as they seek a record-extending ninth Champions League crown.
The clash with Esperance next month would be a 12th Champions League final for last season’s runners-up Al-Ahly and a repeat of the 2012 final between the two giants, which was won by the Egyptians.
Following Soliman’s goal off Ahmed Fathy’s assist on 61 minutes, it seemed Setif were bent to turn the night into a sensational one by turning the tables on Patrice Carteron’s Al-Ahly.
The Algerians threatened to send their opponents crumbling when Bakir found the target from an assist by Akram Djahnit six minutes later.
Another goal by Ghacha from Abdelmoumene Djabou's pass saw Setif on course for a comeback in the 72nd minute.
But Al-Ahly provided stiff resistance and South African referee Victor Gomes blew the final whistle.