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May 25, 2023


As soon as the final buzzer sounded, Al Ahly coach Agustin Bosch was seen congratulating his counterpart Kaba Kante for the “good job.”

Al Ahly outlasted Stade Malien 78-73 to advance to the 2023 BAL Final, but the clash was anything but easy for the Egyptian champions.

For the third time this season, Al Ahly found themselves trailing at halftime (38-33), but somehow, Bosch’s men managed to get away with the “tough win,” as Ehab Amin later admitted.

Amin led all players in scoring with 21 points, Michael Thompson finished with 12, Nuni Omot added 16 and new addition Michael Fakuade came up with 10 points off the bench for Al Ahly.

Ehab Amin is averaging a team-high 21.5 points per game in the BAL Finals

With the win, Al Ahly became the second Egyptian team to reach the BAL Final since their domestic rivals Zamalek clinched the title in 2021 under Agustin Bosch.

Nothing illustrated the evenly-matched game better than the rebounding battle where Stade Malien came up on top 43-42.

The Malian champions finished with 19 assists, two more than the winning team.

Both teams recorded five steals apiece.

It was an evenly-matched encounter, but missing 5 of their 18 free-throws in the final quarter was costly to Stade Malien.

“If we had those [free-throws], we would have won by six,” insisted Kelvin Amayo who finished 15 points and 5 assists for the Bamako-based side.

“It’s tough. I know we have a young team, but we played very hard. We just need to lock in, even myself,” Amayo said.

Kelvin Amayo is seen action in Wednesday's second Semi-Finals

Aliou Diarra recorded his seventh straight double-double (13 and 10 rebounds) of the season, but his foul trouble limited his actions.

The 21-year-old eventually fouled out later in the fourth quarter, and Stade Malien struggled to stay contain a more composed Ahly side that looked in control of their destiny.

“If he is in the game, we definitely would have won that game,” an adamant Amayo observed before insisting that Stade Malien “are better than them [Al Ahly]”

“They hit their free-throws at the right time,” Amayo insisted.

Augustin Bosch is now in a strong position to become the first coach to win two BAL titles

Amin said the most important thing was the win.

“It was a tough one. We are just happy with the win. We need to do a better a job closing out the game. We’ll be ready to go Saturday.”

BAL debutant Al Ahly will take on AS Douanes on Saturday in the 2023 BAL Final.

And Bosch will try to become the first coach to win two BAL titles.