2018 CAF Champions League Final: North African date on the books
All the draws, travels, cheers, cries, outbursts and many other priceless moments that always come with the CAF Champions league have once again led up to this moment, the grand finale. The biggest club football tournament in Africa, that pitches the best form each country has reached the climax and just like last year, two North African clubs will got to war for the ultimate prize.
One of the biggest stories leading to the final has been that of Angolan club, Primeiro de Agosto. Primeiro were eyeing their first CAF Champions League since their inception in 1977 and had indeed moved mountains to achieve just that. They knocked out the likes of 5 time champions TP Mazembe and fellow dream chasers, Mbabane Swallows of eSwatini in the running to the semi-finals. With exciting attacking football and underdog status, Primeiro had become everyone’s favorite in the semifinal mix of dominant North African clubs. However, they respectfully bowed out last night in Tunisia after an eventful second leg semi-final against Esperance Sportive de Tunis.
Primeiro headed into the leg with a narrow 1-0 advantage and doubled that lead, seven minutes after kickoff. Esperance quickly responded with two goals before half-time to bring the tie down to the wire. An unfortunate second half for Primeiro saw them score one more to turn the tie on its head to their favor before Esperance struck twice again, courtesy of defensive errors by the away side. The tie ended 4-3 on aggregate and Primeiro’s manager bemoaned a hostile environment with lit flares, limited visibility, noise and explosives in the stadium by the home fans.
In the other semi-final, the most successful club in the history of the competition, Al Ahly cruised into the final after seeing off ES Setif of Algeria, 3-2 on aggregate. The Egyptian club opened the scoring in Algeria to triple their advantage before ES Setif scored two second half goals to fight back. It was all too little to late for Setif, as Al Ahly booked a consecutive final spot. The Red Devils will be looking to put behind the disappointment of the 2017 Champions League final loss to Wydad Casablanca of Morocco.
The 2018 CAF Champions League final will be two legged, to be played on the 2nd of November in Egypt before the return leg, a week later in Tunisia.
Who are you rooting for?