African Champions League final
Al Ahly v Esperance
1st leg (4nd November 2012, 1700 BST): Borg El Arab Stadium, Alexandria
2nd leg(17th November 2012, 1730 BST): Stade de Olympique de Rades, Rades
Al Ahly (probable, 4-2-3-1): Ekramy; Fathy, Gomaa, Naguib, Shedid; Ghaly, Ashour; Barakat, Aboutrika, Soliman; Gedo.
Esperance (probable, 4-3-3): Ben Cherifia; Derbali, Hicheri, Ben Mansour, Chammam; Mouelhi, Ragued, Aouadhi; Afful, Msakni, N’Djeng.
A match between two continental heavyweights primed for battle; a villanously efficient side, the continent’s finest, against a side who tread a fine line between being a streetwise winner and a streetwise bottler. A match that promises to provide the perfect synthesis of coarse determination and sparkling flair, showcasing the qualities that are synonymous with the vogue Maghrebian sides off the last 30 years. The qualities that mended many hearts when Tunisia won the Cup of Nations in 2004 on home soil; in a splendid side that contained North Korean military organisation and a sprinkling of stardust in the form of Slim Ben Achour (remember him? No? Shame on you.). Then those qualities thoroughly entertained purists and pragmatics when the all-conquering Al Ahly and Egypt national sides buckled their swash in the 2000s. This is match that – for the real football connoisseurs rather than pretenders like humble old me – promises to be a ‘fascinating tactical battle’.