Wonderful week for African champions Al Ahly

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ABIDJAN: Al Ahly stayed on track for a record third consecutive African Champions League title with a 1-0 victory over Asec Mimosas of Ivory Coast Sunday.

Ace midfielder Mohamed Aboutraika scored after 40 minutes in the Group B second-round clash to lift the Red Devils from Cairo five points clear of Asec and Tunisian side Esperance.

Success was particularly sweet for Al Ahly, who were lucky to lose only 2-1 at ASEC in the semi-finals last year having established a two-goal first-leg lead at home.

And collecting maximum points from arguably the toughest of their six group fixtures completed a wonderful week for five-time African Champions League title holders Al Ahly.

Last Monday they came from behind three times to pip fierce Cairo rivals Zamalek 4-3 after extra time in the Egyptian Cup final and complete a second consecutive domestic double.

Al Ahly made six changes from the team that left it late before overcoming Al-Hilal of Sudan 2-0 in Cairo two weeks ago in the opening round of Group B action.

Among those introduced by Portuguese coach Manuel Jose was cultured Angolan midfielder Felisberto Gilberto Amaral after an 18-month injury layoff that threatened to end his football career.

Gilberto fitted neatly into an Al Ahly team that soaked up first-half pressure before going ahead when Aboutraika pounced on a headed pass and goalkeeper Vincent Angban stood motionless as a low shot hit the net.

French coach Patrick Liewig rang the second-half ASEC changes, sending on Marc Dion, Nigerian Mutiu Adegoke and Serge Deble to bolster the attack, but veteran Al Ahly goalkeeper Essam Al-Hadary was rarely troubled.

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