Egyptian giants Al Ahly started their quest for a record extending title by defeating South Sudan Atlabara 4-0 on Sunday night at the Alexandria based Borg El Arab Stadium. The 2019-20 Total CAF Champions League preliminary round first leg encounter was played in Egypt upon request from hosts Atlabara due to renovation process at home based Juba stadium.
Al Ahly scored twice in each half and missed a handful of chances to virtually pet a leg in the next round before the return leg in a fortnight, also in Alexandria.
Moroccan import Walid Azaro scroed a brace after Tunisian Ali Maaloul opened the scoring from the spot, and before substitute Ahmed Elsheikh capped the victory in injury time.
It was a one way traffic at Borg El Arab, which was a bit expected looking at the difference between record eight times champions Al Ahly and minnows Atlabara who never managed to qualify farther than the preliminary round.
Ahly waited 16 minutes to break the deadlock. Amr Elsoleya was fouled inside the vital area, and Maaloul who was undoubtedly Ahly’s man of last season made no mistake from the spot.
Azaro was about to score a brilliant goal at the half hour mark. Mohamed Hany sent a cross from the right side that the Moroccan met with an acrobatic kick, just to see his ball rebounding back from the crossbar.
But he made amends three minutes later when he connected to Hussein Elshahat’s cross to tap the ball easily into the net from close range, as Al Ahly went to the halftime with a two goal lead.
Azaro returned three minutes after the break to complete his brace with a decisive header that Atlabara’s goalkeeper couldn’t hold to widen the gap for the Red Devils.
Ahly coach Martin Lasarte made some changes to his attacking line giving the chance to Angolan Geraldo, Nigerian Junior Ajayi and Ahmed Elsheikh. It was the latest who put the cherry on top of the cake two minutes into injury time. From Geraldo’s cross, Elsheikh rounded his marker to score Ahly’s fourth and give his side a convincing lead before the second leg.