The four teams left in the competition will be cut down to two, with continental powerhouse Al Ahly favourites in their clash against ES Setif, while Angolan club Primeiro Agosto are looking to rewrite the history books by holding onto their slender advantage against Tunisian giants Esperance.
Setif vs Al Ahly (aggregate score 0-2)
Last year’s losing finalists Al Ahly are targeting a spot in the final for the 12th time in their illustrious history, and are well-primed to do so: they travel to Algeria tonight with a 2-0 advantage over Setif, with Walid Soliman and Islam Mohareb scoring the crucial goals in Cairo three weeks ago.
The eight-time winners are now under the guidance of French coach Patrice Carteron, who won the Champions League with TP Mazembe three years ago, and has led the Red Devils to six wins and a draw in the competition since taking over from Hossam el Badry in June. In those seven matches, Al Ahly have scored 15 goals and kept six cleans sheets, and are well-positioned to reach their second final in a row.
Setif, however, will not be easy pushovers, having dumped reigning champions Wydad Casablanca out of the competition in the previous round. They also have an impressive home record in the competition, with just one loss in their previous nine fixtures dating back to 2015.
Famously disqualified from the tournament in 2016 which paved the way for Mamelodi Sundowns’ success – oddly enough, on this exact day two years ago – Setif will have their work cut out in overcoming Al Ahly and emulating their championship-winning campaign of 2014.
Esperance vs Primeiro (aggregate score 0-1)
Two-time continental cup winners Esperance, who last won the competition in 2011 before losing the final in 2012, suffered just their second loss of this year’s campaign earlier this month after going down 1-0 to Primeiro in the first leg of this season’s semi-finals. After finishing second in their group behind Al Ahly, they ousted fellow Tunisian club Etoile du Sahel in the quarter-finals 3-1 on aggregate, before their narrow defeat in Angola three weeks ago courtesy of Luvumbo Pedro’s 80th-minute goal.
Esperance will back themselves to do the business at home and reach their seventh final however: their record in their own back yard in the competition over the last 15 games reads 12 wins, one draw and just two losses. It will however be a huge occasion for coach Moin Chabani in his first match at the helm after the club axed Khalid Ben Yahia following a league loss to Sfaxien earlier this month.
Primeiro, meanwhile, are looking to make history and become the first Angolan club to reach a CAF Champions League final.
After beating Bidvest Wits on penalties to qualify for the group stage, Primeiro lost just one of their next six games to finish second in their group behind Etoile du Sahel, following which they stunned the continent by dumping giants TP Mazembe out of the competition on away goals in the quarter-finals.
In doing so, they matched Petro Atletico’s 2001 feat in becoming just the second Angolan club to reach the last four of the prestigious competition.
Following their 1-0 victory in the first leg, Primeiro have given themselves a good shot at a maiden final, but know their work is far from complete – they have only won one of their last 11 away games in the competition, with just three draws and seven losses on the road.
Both semi-finals are scheduled for this evening, with the two-legged final taking place over the first two weekends of November.
The two teams involved will not only be fighting for continental honours, but also the hefty $2.5 million (R36 million) winners’ cheque.