Percy Tau stars in Ahly’s four-goal win; Wydad beat Petro

South African Percy Tau scored two goals and created two when CAF Champions League title holders Al Ahly of Egypt beat Algeria Entente Setif 4-0 in 10 men in Saturday’s semi-final first leg.

Tau opened and completed the scoring in Cairo, while Taher Mohamed and Mohamed Sherif also scored as 10-time champions Ahly took advantage of Setif’s dismissal with Amir Karaoui when he was 1-0 behind in the 35th minute.

If Ahly qualify for the final after their return match in Algiers next Saturday, they will likely face Wydad Casablanca in a repeat of the 2017 title final won by the Moroccan team.

In Angola, rival captains Tiago Azulao of Petro Luanda and Yahya Jabrane of Wydad scored for the visitors, who took a significant step towards the final by beating surprise qualifiers 3-1.

In pursuit of the third consecutive Champions League title record, Ahly had a goal correctly declared offside and shook the wood twice before Tau scored in the 30th minute at the Al Salam stadium.

Mohamed crossed paths and Tau passed goalkeeper Sofiane Khedairia, whose brilliant saves had allowed Setif to shock Tunisia’s Esperance in last month’s quarter-finals.

A highly charged North African showdown erupted when Karaoui stepped on Hussein el Shahat’s foot and the referee changed an opening yellow card to red after seeing the foul on the VAR monitor.

Despite being numerically disadvantaged, Setif was expected to equalize as half-time approached, but unsigned Hicham Belkaroui wasted a chance at the far post after a free kick went well.

The sub sheriff strikes

Ahly took the lead in the second half by scoring at regular intervals and became only the third club after Nigerian club Heartland and Egypt’s Zamalek to win a semi-final first leg with four goals.

A brilliant round and a cross from Tau allowed Mohamed to double the lead and substitute Sherif was on the field just four minutes when he chipped the ball into Khedairia after being prepared by the South African.

Tau completed the scoring in the last minute of regulation time, hitting a low cross from Mohamed Hany from close range.

Previously, Brazilian Azulao scored a 16-minute own goal in the first leg seen by a nearly incapable crowd at the 50,000-seat Estadio 11 de Novembro.

Having dominated possession in the first half without a single shot on goal, the hosts suffered a blow in the 45th minute when Jabrane doubled the lead with a ferocious shot.

Petro were thwarted by wood early in the second half before Congo international Brazzaville Guy Mbenza took 1992 and 2017 champions Wydad three goals in 68 minutes.

Veteran midfielder Petro Job stepped off the bench in place of Brazilian Gleison Moreira and scored a consolation goal straight from a free-kick with nine minutes left.

To progress, Petro will need to score at least three goals in the second leg this Friday in Casablanca, where he was crushed 5-1 by Wydad in a group match last month.

And the story is against Petro, because none of the nine clubs that had lost at home in the first leg of a Champions League semi-final have managed to overcome the overall disadvantage.

Petro will travel to Morocco without Brazilian midfielder William Soares, who was sent off in added time after being booked twice.