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Sunday, 15 December 2019

Preview: Egyptian Confed Cup representatives Smouha, Masry eye playoff return-leg victories

Omar Zaazou , Friday 14 Apr 2017
Egyptian side Masry slump to a 1-0 loss to Uganda's KCCA in the first leg of the African Confederation Cup playoff (Photo: Masry's official Facebook page)
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Egyptian representatives Smouha and Masry will be eyeing victories in the CAF Confederation Cup playoff return leg when they host South Africa’s Bidvest Wits and Uganda's Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) respectively on Saturday.

Having come up with a goalless draw away at Bidvest, thanks in part to a great display from keeper Mohamed Abo-Gabal, Smouha will now be looking for a win when they host the South Africans at Alexandria’s Borg El-Arab Stadium.

Smouha know quite well their mission at home will not be that easy against a strong Bidvest side, whom club President Mohamed Farag Amer dubbed as the ‘strongest opposition to have ever faced Smouha’.

“The game against Bidvest will be a difficult one. They are the strongest team Smouha to have ever faced in their history,” Amer said.

Smouha manager Moemen Soliman echoed the club chairman’s sentiments, highlighting Bidvest’s strengths ahead of the return leg.

“Bidvest are a quite strong side. They are organized, have a youthful and talented squad, they also have high fitness levels,” ex-Zamalek boss Soliman said.

“They usually put in strong displays away from home, but they actually lack precision in front of goal.”

Bidvest Wits were relegated to the Confederation Cup playoff round after losing 1-0 on aggregate to Ahly in the Champions League round of 32.

Masry need two-goal margin win

With Smouha needing just a victory to go through, Egyptian Confederation Cup fellows Masry will be having a tougher mission against Uganda’s KCCA, who prevailed 1-0 in the first leg.

With the game seemingly heading towards a goalless draw, a laughable error from the Masry defense allowed the hosts to strike at death, with Derrick Nsibambi bagging a 94th-minute goal.   

And now Masry will be burdened to overturn their one-goal deficit at Ismailia Stadium in their bid to reach the competition’s group-stage.

Hossam Hassan will be missing winger Ahmed Shoukri after sustaining an Achilles tendon injury in the first-leg, which saw keeper Ahmed ‘Buska’ produce a string of good saves to deny the hosts.

The Masry manager will be hoping his keeper remain vigilant in front of goal on Saturday after playing a key role in his side’s progress to the competition’s playoff round.

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