Tau inspires Al Ahly to crucial CCL win

African Football

Pitso Mosimane's Al Ahly boosted their chances of qualifying for the CAF Champions League quarter-finals after defeating Al-Merreikh 3-1 on Friday evening.

Mosimane made two changes to the side that narrowly lost against Mamelodi Sundowns, as Mohamed Hany and Hussein El Shahat were recalled while Percy Tau remained in the line-up after he was hauled off early in the second stanza against his former club.

The Red Devils were limited to shots from outside the box in the opening exchanges but they profited from such a situation, as Tau gave them the lead in the 19th minute with a strike in the box that found the bottom corner after a rebound from Amr El Soleya's effort from range.

The visitors gained momentum after that as Ali Maaloul forced a save out of goalkeeper Monged Abuzaid with a strike from a tight angle on the half-hour mark.

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While Tau was withdrawn at halftime by the Red Devils and was replaced by Taher Mohamed, the early stages of the second stanza produced fireworks, as Ramadan Agab came close to levelling matters for Al-Merreikh with a strike in the box that came off the crossbar.

And as the game opened up, Agab eventually found parity for the Sudanese outfit on the hour-mark with a strike towards the bottom corner from a rebound after shot-stopper Mohamed El Shenawy a shot by Algozoli Hussien back into play.

However, Mohamed Sherif restored the lead for the Egyptian giants in the last 18 minutes with a strike in the box that found the bottom corner after he was teed up by Maaloul.

Al-Merreikh were not given time to regroup, as Ahmed Abdelkader made it 3-1 for Al Ahly just a minute later with another strike in the box into the bottom corner.

Mosimane closed shop in the dying minutes and held on for victory, which moved the reigning champions three points ahead of the Sudanese side, including Al-Hilal in second place.