CAIRO: Ismaili became the only Egyptian side to emerge winners from this week’s African ties after beating Sudan’s Hilal 1-0 away from home in the first leg of the Champions League round of 16.
Six-time African champions Ahly were handed a 2-0 defeat by Libya’s Ittihad in Friday’s Champions League clash and more negative results were to follow.
Harras Hodoud slumped to a 2-1 defeat at Tanzania’s Simba and Petrojet were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Tunisia’s Sfaxien in the Confederation Cup earlier on Sunday but Ismaili spared Egyptian blushes with a superb display in Omdurman.
Skipper Mohamed Hommos, best known for scoring the goal that gave Egypt a 1-0 victory over Italy in the FIFA Confederations Cup last year, notched Ismaili’s winner over Hilal on the stroke of halftime.
Hilal keeper tipped a superb free-kick from Ahmed Samir Farag onto the post and the ball fell to Hommos, who headed home into an empty net.
Ismaili keeper Essam Al-Hadari recovered from cold in time to take part in the game, playing a key role in their precious win.
He pulled off a string of impressive saves to keep Ismaili’s lead intact and give under-fire coach Emad Soliman a much-needed lift after a poor league run.
The Dervishes, who lie fourth in the league table, are now favorites to reach the group stage of the Champions League.
They won the old version of Africa’s premier competition once in 1969.