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Thursday, 22 October 2020

Preview: Ahly's under-fire boss Garrido aims to silence critics

Garrido has no choice but to lead Ahly to a win over Arab Contractors on Monday to silence critics after a string of poor displays this season

Ahmed Abd El Rasoul , Sunday 26 Apr 2015
Juan Carlos Garrido
Egypt's Al Ahly coach Juan Carlos Garrido reacts during their African Confederations Cup final soccer match against Ivory Coast's Sewe Sport at Cairo stadium, December 6, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)
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Ahly's under-fire coach Juan Garrido is under the spotlight as his stuttering side take on Arab Contractors in the Egyptian Premier League on Monday.

The Red Devils are struggling domestically this term as they lie third in the table with 46 points, eight behind leaders and arch-rivals Zamalek with 15 matches to go.

Ahly, who are seeking to equal their own record of winning nine league titles in a row, scored two late goals to recover from a goal down and beat relegation-threatened Damanhour 2-1 on Thursday.

Garrido, who steered Ahly to the Egyptian Super Cup and African Confederation Cup titles in his first season in charge, was heavily criticised following some below-par displays in the domestic league.

Things went from bad to worse when Garrido, in a recent interview, criticised the size of his squad, poor stadiums, the ongoing crowd ban and a lack of medical support.

The Ahly board, which traditionally does not tolerate any criticism of the club from any of its employees, held a meeting with the Spanish coach to discuss his comments and their effect on the team.

"My comments were misunderstood," Garrido told Ahly's official website.

"I have full support from the management, I am not criticising them, it's the rules they are forced to work under.

"I respect the management as they always remove the barriers that affect the team," he added.

Ahly rarely release coaches in the middle of the season, so they have decided to keep Garrido until the end of the ongoing season and they will decide his future based on his results, according to a board member.

Pressure on Garrido

Despite the temporary settlement with the management, Garrido will be under heavy pressure on Monday as he seeks to silence critics.

A victory will be also essential to boost Ahly's morale ahead of the must-win clash against Moghreb Tétouan in the second leg of the CAF Champions League round of 16. The Egyptian team slumped to a 1-0 first-leg loss in Morocco.

Ahly duo Walid Soliman and Saad Samir have recovered from their respective injuries and are fit to take part in Monday's game against Contractors. Defender Mohamed Naguib is still out due to injury and the club will also miss another defender in Sherif Abdel-Fadil who was sent off against Damanhour.

Contractors might prove a stiff opponent, having remarkably improved under former Egypt coach Hassan Shehata.

Three-time African Nations Cup winner with Egypt, Shehata, enjoyed a perfect start after taking charge in November, but the team suffered two losses in the last four league games.

Getting a positive result against Ahly will help the sixth-placed team in their campaign to end the season on a high note.

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

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