Ahly draw 1-1 with Wydad in home leg of Champions League final

Achraf Bencharki
Wydad's Achraf Bencharki, who scored the equaliser for the Moroccans, flanked by Al Ahly players

Al Ahly of Egypt could not build on their quick start against Morocco's Wydad Casablanca, settling for a 1-1 draw in the first leg of the African Champions League final.

Moamen Zakaria scored after just three minutes for Ahly, the record eight-time African champions, at the Borg El Arab Stadium in Alexandria.

But leading Wydad scorer Achraf Bencharki levelled soon after, with dominant Ahly failing to add to their goals tally.

One-touch passing down the left flank created the early chance for Zakaria, and his looping left-foot shot went over goalkeeper Zouheir Laaroubi into the corner.

It might have been 2-0 for the rampant home side five minutes later when their Moroccan striker Walid Azaro raced clear, but could only steer his shot onto the crossbar.

After weathering the early storm, Wydad settled and found an equaliser as Bencharki glanced his header past Ahly goalkeeper Sherif Ekramy from Mohamed Ounajem's cross on 17 minutes.

Ahly had the best chance before the break when Nigerian Junior Ajayi found himself unmarked in the box, but his header went high over the bar.

Ajayi and El-Said both missed good opportunities to put the home side in front again, while Azaro thought he should have had a penalty as well in the second half.

A late strike from experienced forward Emad Moteab shaved the post as Wydad clung on for the draw.

Al Ahly coach Hossam El Badry
Hossam El Badry led Al Ahly to their seventh African Champions League success in 2012

The Moroccans now take what could be a precious away-goal into the second leg in Casablanca next weekend and will be buoyed by the knowledge that their home form has been outstanding this year.

They have won all six of their Champions League games in Morocco, while conceding just one goal.

It increases the pressure on Ahly - and their coach Hossam El Badry - as they seek to extend their record of African Champions League crowns to nine.

El Badry, who is enjoying a third spell in charge of the club, guided Al Ahly to the 2012 Champions League title.

Whoever wins this year's final will claim $2.5m in prize money and represent Africa in December's Fifa Club World Cup final in the United Arab Emirates.

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