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Al Ahly crowned African club champ after tumultuous year

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Associated Press
11/17/2012 4:21:29 PM
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TUNIS, Tunisia -- Al Ahly was crowned African club champion on Saturday at the end of a tumultuous and tragic year for the Egyptian team following the Port Said disaster.

Al Ahly beat Tunisia's Esperance 2-1 in Tunis for a 3-2 aggregate victory in the two-leg African Champions League final.

It is Al Ahly's seventh African club title, improving the record of the competition's most successful club. Al Ahly also hasn't played any league football for nine months since the violence at a match in Port Said in February, when over 70 people were killed. That caused the postponement of the Egyptian league, leaving Ahly with just the continental club competition to play in.

A goal in each half on Saturday by Mohamed Gedo and Walid Soliman gave Al Ahly victory at the defending champion after a 1-1 draw in Alexandria two weeks ago.

Esperance's Cameroonian striker Yannick N'Djeng pulled a goal back in the 84th minute and Al Ahly had a late penalty by Mohamed Aboutrika saved by Esperance goalkeeper Ben Cherifia.

The victory earns Al Ahly a place at the Club World Cup and gives Egyptian football a long-needed boost after the violent clashes at a league game between Al Ahly and Al Masry at the beginning of the year that left 74 people dead, most of them fans of Cairo club Ahly.

Only 31,000 fans were allowed into the 60,000-seat stadium in Rades, in the southern suburbs of Tunis, and there was heavy security.

Gedo put Al Ahly ahead in the 43rd and Soliman fired home a second in the 61st. N'Djeng tapped in a cross from the right six minutes from the end before Aboutrika's spot kick was kept out.

Foot kicking soccer ball (Photo: Vladimir Rys/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Vladimir Rys/Getty Images)
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