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Champions League: Esperance, Al Ahly face off in semi-final tie

ES Tunis and Al Ahly take on each other in their CAF Champions League semi-final first-leg match at the Stade Olympique Hammadi Agrebi in Tunisia on Friday   -  
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Four-time African champions Esperance of Tunis host 10-time winners Al Ahly in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final in on Friday. 

The Tunisians and Egyptians have 23 Champions League finals between them.

Esperance will make an attempt on another final but without the company of their fans. Ther staium, Stade Olympique de Rades, is serving a CAF ban - following the half-time outbursts during the quarter-final second leg against JS Kabylie.

Undefeated in 5 continental matches at home, Nabil Maaloul's men will be much reduced in stature.

Internationals Moez Ben Cherifia and Ghaylene Chaalali, Libyan winger Hamdou Elhouni and Algerian striker Riad Benayad are all out of action while Moataz Zaddem and Houssem Dagdoud are suspended.

While the Tunisians have gone three matches without success in all competitions, Al Ahly have been transformed in recent weeks. 

The Red Devils, who were slow in the group phase, found their wings in the previous round by sweeping aside Raja Casablanca. 

Al Ahly are almost certain to win their 43rd league title (three points clear and five games behind their rivals), and they claimed another trophy last weekend when they snatched the Egyptian Super Cup from Pyramids FC thanks to a stoppage-time goal from their Tunisian counterpart Ali Maâloul.

Another piece of good news is that Hussein El-Shahat, the team's best passer, who was in doubt for a while, will be present.

Finally, the Egyptians have a statistical advantage. In the last 15 years, the two clubs have met 18 times on the African stage, with Cairo winning ten times and EST only four.

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