Defending champions handed Tanzanian side Simba SC their first loss as the group phase of the Total CAF Champions League continues to wrap up. Ahly beat Wekundu Wa Msimbazi 1-0 in Cairo courtesy of a goal from Mohamed Sherif.
Despite the loss, Simba still finished the group stage top of Group A with 13 points while Ahly finished second with 11. Both teams had already booked their tickets to the quarter finals.
In the other dead rubber group fixture, DR Congo’s AS Vita Club finished off the group phase with victory at home, beating Sudan’s El Merrikh 3-1.
In Cairo, Ahly were determined to finish off the group phase with a morale boosting victory while Simba were keen to pick an elusive victory up north and finish the group stage on an unbeaten run.
However, Ahly were hungrier and they got their goal in the 31st minute when Sherif hit the back of the net. His first cross off a Mohamed Magdy Afsha cross was saved by keeper Aishi Manula, but the rebound fell kindly and Sherif volleyed it home while on the ground.
Ahly had a chance for a second four minutes later when Ayman Ashraf had a shot saved by keeper Manula after picking up the spills when his initial cross was blocked inside the box.
In the second half, the home side continued piling the pressure and Mohamed Elsoulia had a rasping shot from distance go over in the 62nd minute. Simba were limited in chances but had one in the 69th minute when Meddie Kagere’s shot from the right rolled kindly into the keeper’s arms.
Three minutes to time, Simba almost scrapped a draw but Luis Miquissone’s shot brushed the crossbar after a clearance from Ahmed Mohamed when the keeper spilled a cross fell into his path.
At the Stade de Martyrs in Kinshasa, hosts Vita finished off the group phase with a well worked victory.
Vita got into the lead in the ninth minute when Jacques Mangoba scored with a low shot from the right that caught the keeper off his line after a neat interchange of passes ended up in Ducapel Muloko backheeling the ball for him.
Merrikh drew level in the 31st minute when Tony Edjomariegwe’s shot from the edge of the area bounced off the upright and into the net after being set up by Saif Terry. The visitors should have scored the second just before the break when Terry pinched the ball off a poor backpass but he couldn’t beat keeper Simon Omossola one on one.
The home side wrapped up the game in the second half. Six minutes after the restart, Fiston Mayele doubled their lead with a neat shot inside the box.
They drove the final nail on Merrikh’s coffin 10 minutes to time when substitute Ricky Tulengi hit the back of the net with a swift executed counter, set up from a Merrikh corner. Mayele picked up the ball and launched a run upfield, before setting up Tulengi for a low finish past the keeper.