The first ever quarter-final in the inaugural African Football League (AFL) ended all square as Tanzania’s Simba fought back to hold Egyptian giants Al Ahly 2-2 on Friday.
In a dramatic opener to the new pan-African tournament, Simba recovered from a goal down to lead before Al Ahly hit back to ensure the first-leg tie is evenly poised.
The first half was tightly contested until Al Ahly struck against the run of play through Reda Slim in the first minute of stoppage time.
But Simba turned the game on its head after the break, equalising through Denis Kibu in the 53rd minute before Sadjo Kanoute put the hosts ahead on the hour mark.
However, the Tanzanian side’s lead lasted just three minutes as Ahmed Kahraba immediately pegged them back to make it 2-2.
Neither team could find a late winner in a thrilling end-to-end finish as the first leg ended level.
With away goals no longer counting double, the tie hangs beautifully in the balance heading into the return match in Egypt next weekend.
The breathless match encapsulated the excitement and unpredictability that the new African Football League promises to deliver.