Al Ahly on verge of record ninth star

CAF Champions League

The first match witnessed controversial decisions from Algerian referee Mehdi Abid Charef at Borg El-Arab as he awarded three penalties [two to Al Ahly] and booked both Dhaouadi and Kom, who are both ruled out for the historic encounter.

The Egyptian giants will be without their attacking talisman Walid Azaro, who's serving a two-match suspension due to his controversial antics in the first-leg win. 

As such, one of the continents finest officials in the form of Ethiopian referee Bamalak Tsimba has been tasked to rule over what promises to be a hostile environment in Tunisia.

In this basis of the sheer magnitude of the West-African derby for continental honours and with The Egyptian visitors needing to keep it tight in the defensive efforts in structure, veteran midfielder Hossam Ashour will play an integral role if they are to secure their record ninth star.

The defensive midfielder has featured in more than 400 games with the club, won more than 30 domestic and continental honours, and led his team to runners-up spot in last year's final - and his know-how within the competition will provide the Red Devils with a massive advantage.

Mouïne Chaâbani of Esperance: "Al Ahly is a big team, used to playing in the final. They feel optimistic whenever they encounter Esperance, and they have every right to. It’s a North African derby.

"This is a great pride for us and for Africa to have two teams from North Africa in the CAF Champions League final. We are going to see two beautiful games with plenty of football and emotion and the viewers will have a wonderful experience.

"The most important thing in life is to make the effort, do your best and leave nothing to luck. We must do our best on the field and hopefully, we’ll be rewarded for our efforts."

Patrice Carteron of Ahly: "I trust in the referees' performance, we are now only concentrated on winning to lift the title despite the huge pressure.

''We have many experienced players in our team, we know Esperance very well, it’s a big team we faced them twice in the group stage and in the first leg of the final, our only weapon is concentration to beat them.

''We are fully concentrated in preparation of the game, especially that it’s going to take place on the field of a very strong opponent with great players in all positions. We were able to come out with a positive result in the first leg.''

Tonight's champions will collect $2.5 million and possibly meet European champions Real Madrid at FIFA Club World Cup in December.