The Red Eagles put on a show to remember on Friday night at Hammadi Agrebi Stadium in Rades to achieve a 3-0 win over the Tunisian giants, Esperance, in the first leg of the CAF Champions League semi-final.
A mix of technique and strength from Percy Tau gave us a 2-0 lead with two perfect shots while Mahmoud Kahraba added the third with a beautiful finish after a sublime counter-attack.
We took a three-goal advantage into the second leg that will be played next Friday at Cairo Stadium.
Marcel Koller made no changes to his starting XI that secured a goalless draw against Raja Casablanca away from home to secure our spot in the semi-finals.
We were leading the match after only 9 minutes as Tau received a beautiful pass from Kahraba after a beautiful dummy from Hamdy Fathy. The South African fired a strong shot that the goalkeeper failed to stop, putting us ahead with his third goal in th competition this season.
The home team tried to bounce back, having two chances in one minute from two headers, but both missed the target.
We came close to doubling the score when Kahraba went one against one with the Tunisian goalkeeper but his shot missed the target.
A solid defense from the Red Eagles and dangerous counter-attacks were the highlight of the first 45 minutes.
In the second half, we needed also nine minutes to double the score with a beautiful solo goal from Percy Tau.
The South African lion received the ball on the right flank, navigating his way past every defender he faced and sent a beautiful shot into the bottom corner. What came next was only his beautiful dance with his teammates who celebrated the artwork of their teammate.
The Tunisians went forward to score a goal and revive their hopes but they were beaten for the third time in the game from a precise counter-attack.
Aliou Dieng carried the ball from his own half deep into opposition territory then he passed the ball to Hussein El Shahat who sent a ground cross that Kahraba met with a clinical finish to add the third goal in the game and his fifth in the competition.
The Red Eagles had many clear chances to add more goals through Taher Mohamed Taher and Ahmed Abdelkader who joined the game from the bench but they didn't find the target.
The game ended in a beautiful 3-0 win, which is our biggest away victory in the CAF Champions League semi-final.
Reactions On The Match
"I am happy with the victory and the performance. We had a strong start and scored early in the game but we allowed Esperance to have the possession in most of the first half. I spoke with the players at half time to stay focused and they had an incredible second half. We are not in the final yet. We have a good advantage but we still have another match to play in Cairo after one week."
"We haven't won the tie yet. We won the first leg but we have a second game after one week at home. Esperance is a big team and we prepared for them very well. I am happy with the victory. We will celebrate tonight and tomorrow we will start preparing for the second leg."
Mohamed El Shenawy