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Zamalek are stronger than Ahly, says Orlando Pirates coach

Mohamed Mosselhi , Tuesday 15 Sep 2015
Zamalek
File Photo: Zamalek players and Orlando Pirates in the third round of Africa Confederation Cup group stage (Photo: Ahmed Hassan)
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Orlando Pirates coach Eric Tinkler believesthat his side have a good chance to overcome Ahly in the African Confederation Cup semis, saying that Zamalek are "the strongest" of the four teams left in the competition.

The South African side will take on title holders Ahly in the semis after finishing second in Group B with 12 points, three behind leaders and Ahly's Cairo rivals Zamalek, who defeated them 4-1 in Cairo in their final group game.

Orlando will host Ahly in the first leg set to be played in the last week of September, while the second leg will take place in Cairo one week later.

"Tough, but I think Zamalek without a doubt are the best team, without a shadow of doubt, and I think we’ve got a good chance to beat Ahly,” Tinkler told South African magazine Kickoff on Tuesday.

"It is important we score some goals at home and we don't concede so that we take something there to protect.

The 45-year-old coach admitted that Ahly's clash will be tough but said the game will give the Pirates the chance to avenge their 2013 loss to the Red Devils in the African Champions League final.

Ahly have won 2013 Champions league title following a 3-1 aggregate win (1-1, 2-0) over the Pirates.

"It's a semi-final and I think if anything, it is going to be a tough encounter. It's going back to 2013 when we played them. It's payback time and it is something the players always wanted," Tinkler added.

"Right at the beginning of this competition, they wanted to meet Ahly and now they’ve got that opportunity and they’ve got to come out and produce the goods."

Tinkler said that his side have learnt the lessons from Zamalek's defeat, which he described as a wake-up call for him and the players before the semis.

"This was a wake-up call to everybody. You lost 4-1 to a very good team, we didn't show up, they gave us a little bit of a football lesson and now we have to go out there and prove our worth. Players need to prove their worth,” he concluded. 

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