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Friday, 23 August 2019

Preview: Egypt's Ahly eyeing first-ever Confederation Cup final berth

Ahly will be having an easy test against Cameroon's Coton Sport following their first-leg lead in the Confederation Cup semi-final

Omar Zaazou , Saturday 27 Sep 2014
Walid Soliman
Ahly winger Walid Soliman (Photo: Ahram)
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Ahly will be looking to book a berth in the African Confederation Cup final for the first time in their history when they host Cameroon's Coton Sport at Cairo Stadium on Sunday.

Having won the first leg away from home 1-0, courtesy of a brilliant Walid Soliman strike in Garoua last week, the Reds mission will be much easier in the return leg against an opponent who never got the upper hand in two previous Champions League occasions.

Eight-time African champions Ahly first met Coton in the Champions League final in 2008, winning 2-0 in Cairo before playing out a 2-2 draw away from home to claim the title.

The second meeting, however, was not a breeze for Ahly – who had to edge out a nervy shootout to march through to the final following a 2-2 aggregate draw last season.

And despite being on a one-goal advantage from the first leg, football director Wael Gomaa still fears an unlikely upset by the Cameroonians – having witnessed similar situations during his playing career with Ahly.

"The away result is so deceiving I'm afraid, we should never bank on our advantage when we face Coton in the second leg," Gomaa told Ahly's official website.

"We should take heart from the first leg result to win the game instead, and go on to become the first Egyptian side to win the Confederation Cup."

Although Ahly are in a comfortable position ahead of the second leg, they still wished to have their home fans cheering on them in the stands, but all their hopes were dashed after the Egyptian FA informed them the game will be staged behind closed doors for security reasons.

Even so, Ahly's Ultras fans announced on their Facebook page that they intend to attend the Confederation Cup semi final second leg.

This time, however, it is believed that their presence will be coordinated with the Ahly board – but whether authorities would allow them to attend the match remains to be seen.

Team news

Ahly will still have to do without holding midfielder Hossam Ashour due to suspension, as the absence of injured duo Mohamed 'Gedo' Nagy and Abdallah El-Saied continues.

Gedo, however, could boost Ahly should they reach the competition's final after almost recuperating from a nagging cruciate ligament injury sustained in the group stage.

Burkinabe forward Moussa Yedan, who made a notable impact after coming on as a second half sub in the first leg, could also feature against his former club following initial fears of ankle injury sustained during the final moments of the away game had been dissipated.   

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

 
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