Friday, August 30, 2013

Al Ahly, Leopards in crucial battle

Either Al Ahly or AC Leopards could take a major step towards qualification for the semifinals of the CAF Champions League with victory in their group A encounter in Gouna on Saturday evening.

Both sides have gathered four points from three fixtures and sit three points behind group leaders Orlando Pirates who face Zamelek at the same stadium a day later.

A win for either side would open a three point gap between themselves and their opposition with only two rounds of fixtures remaining.

Ahly coach Mohamed Youssef expects a tough match against the Congolese outfit, in an encounter which he has described as being decisive.

“The return leg against the Leopards will be a decisive match as it will reorder the group teams and determine who will be close to book a place in the semifinal,” said Ahly coach Mohamed Youssef.

“The match will not be easy because our opponents consider the game their last chance and will be tough in comparison to the first leg.”

Egypt giants Al Ahly have received some good and bad news ahead of the fixture against the Congolese outfit as want-away Mauritania forward Dominique da Silva has asked not to be selected for the match as he looks to force a move away from the Egyptian outfit, consequently weakening the side’s frontline.

However, they key trio of Ahmed Fathi, Hossam Ashour and Ahmed Abdul-Zaher are all back for the match against Leopards on the weekend.

Fathi and Ashour have returned from injury while Zaher is back after serving a one-match suspension.
Another concern for the Red Devils is whether veteran midfielder Mohamed Aboutreika will take part in the crucial clash. 

Aboutreika asked not to be selected for a friendly match on Sunday, despite being fully fit and it is unclear whether the 34-year old sees a future with the club.

Leopards assistant coach Cyril Ndonga explained that his side are tactically superior to the Egyptians and that they have learnt their lessons ahead of the return leg this weekend.

“Tactically and technically we were superior to the Egyptians. We have learnt our lessons so as to rectify a number of things that did not work out,” said Ndonga.

Ahly won the reverse fixture in Dolisie 10 days ago 1-0, and will be heavy favourites against a Leopards side who are not as potent away from their home crowd.

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