Ahly take a slender lead into the decisive second leg
Egypt's Ahly took a vital step towards the Champions League final when defeating local rivals Zamalek 2-1 in the first leg of their semi-final in Cairo on Sunday.
Emad Moteab and Mohamed Barakat scored two first-half goals to extend Ahly's unbeaten lead to 45 matches in the Egyptian capital's Military Stadium.
Emad dummied inside the box and quickly turned to fire into the far corner of the net, beating the outstretched keeper and going into second place of this year's Champions League scoring charts.
Emad's six goals are only better by Joetex Frimpong of Nigeria's Enyimba, who scored eight times for the former champions but whose team exited the competition after the group stages.
Like Emad, Barakat also struck from close range, finishing into an empty net to double the lead against an out-of-sorts Zamalek.
Despite scoring two crucial away goals, the Egyptian champions should be taking a greater advantage into the second leg.
After substitute Hazem Emam pulled a goal back for Zamalek midway through the second half, Ahly had two golden opportunities to wrap up the scoring.
First, an unmarked Ahmed Hassan Abdelrahman side-footed over the bar when it seemed easier to score.
Directly in front of goal, seven yards out and running onto a neat low pass, Abdelrahman somehow contrived to miss the whole target with the goal at his mercy.
Ahly could have put this astonishing miss behind them when they won a penalty in the last minute.
Yet Angolan Flavio Amado fired his spot-kick straight into the arms of diving Zamalek goalkeeper Mohamed Moncef after the striker himself had been fouled.
Nonethless, Ahly's performance, both more disciplined and fluent than their opponents, suggests they are favourites to reach the final for the first time since winning the competition in 2001.
The second leg takes place on 16 October and whoever goes through will meet either Tunisia's Etoile Sahel or Moroccan side Raja Casablanca in the final.