CAF Champions League

Esperance coach Chaabani sizes up Al-Ahly Caf Champions League final

CAF Champions League
ES Tunis
Al Ahly v ES Tunis
Al Ahly
African All Stars
Since the 2012 Port Said disaster, Al-Ahly have been playing many of their home matches before a limited number of fans
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Esperance coach Mouine Chaabani says they are determined to beat Al-Ahly as 60 000 fans have been allowed to attend Friday’s Caf Champions League final, first leg between the Egyptian hosts and Esperance.

Esperance are gunning for a third Champions League title and come up against record nine-time African champions Al-Ahly.

"Ahly are a great club in the continent," Chaabani told Tunisian newspaper La Presse.

"They have much experience, but we are determined to win the title.”

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Dramatic scenes marked Esperance’s 4-2 win over Primiero Agosto in the semifinal, second leg in Rades.

The Angolans had a spirited resistance that saw Esperance come a few minutes away from elimination.

“We suffered a lot against Primeiro de Agosto," Chaabani said.

"I hope that the players took the lesson from this nerve-wracking game and understood that nothing is guaranteed in the world of football.

"The most important thing is to believe in your capabilities and to fight to reach your target.”

But on Friday the Tunisians will play before 60 000 predominantly Al-Ahly fans following the thumbs up by Egyptians authorities to allow such a huge number of fans inside Alexandria's Borg El Arab.

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This is similar to the number allowed to watch last year’s final when Al-Ahly hosted Wydad Casablanca in the first leg. No violent incidents were recorded from that match so the Egyptians are hoping for a friendly crowd.

Since 72 Al Ahly fans died during the match against Al Masry at Port Said Stadium in February 2012, there's been a ban on fans from attending domestic matches in Egypt.

Only a limited number were allowed to watch Caf inter-club matches as well as Egypt national team matches.