Pitso returns as Al Ahly book CWC semi spot

FIFA Club World Cup

Al Ahly advanced to the semi-finals of the FIFA Club World Cup with a 1-0 win over C.F. Monterrey on Saturday evening.

Ahly were without a host of regulars such as captain and goalkeeper Mohamed El Shenawy, Amr Al Sulaya and Ayman Ashraf, but named South African Percy Tau wasn’t in the match day squad.

Pitso Mosimane’s men could have had a dream start on four minutes from a clever counter-attack, but Ahmed Abdal Qader fluffed the one-on-one opportunity.

Monterrey eagerly wanted to punish the Egyptians for that missed chance 11 minutes in through a header in the area by Sebastian Vegas, but he missed after a telling ball from Erick Aguirre.

It became a tough battle for the Cairo Red Devils towards the half-hour mark, as Monterrey launched chance after chance which Rogelio Funes and Luis Romo failed to utilise.

Ahly bounced back from the barrage by Monterrey and managed to see chances for in particular Taher Mohamed, but the Mexican heavyweights stood tall.

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Mosimane’s charges continued where they had left off in the first half and claimed the lead on 53 minutes through a smart finish from the edge of the area by Mohamed Hany.

The Mexicans were quick in pursuit of the equaliser after a few minutes with a header in the centre of the area by Maximilano Meza, but goalkeeper Ali Lotfi saved.

Ahly didn’t rest on their laurels amidst the lead and fashioned another chance through Mohamed Magdy Afsha midway in the second half from a smart ball, but he was parried.

The Cairo Red Devils looked to settle the contest in the closing exchanges with the introduction of Walid Soliman and the removal of Hussein El Shahat.

There were a few chances that went the way of the diminutive player shortly before full-time which he didn’t utilise, although the one goal was enough to secure a spot in the semi-finals.