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Preview: Newly-crowned Egyptian champions Ahly aim to bounce back in African play

Ahly will enjoy the presence of their own fans against Ivory Coast's ASEC Mimosas in their second CAF Champions League group-stage fixture, set to kick off on Tuesday at 22:00 CLT

Ahram Online , Monday 27 Jun 2016
Ahly beat Ismaily 2-1 on Friday to win the Egyptian Premier League title for the ninth time in 10 seasons (Photo: Ahram)
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Recently-crowned Egyptian league champions Ahly will be determined to continue their victorious streak in Africa when they host Ivory Coast's ASEC Mimosas in the CAF Champions League at Alexandria's Borg El-Arab Stadium on Tuesday.

Ahly, Egypt's most successful club, added a 38th league title to their trophy-laden cabinet after beating bitter rivals Ismaily 2-1 just a few days ago.

The Reds, however, seek to continue their domination, this time on the continental front, when they host one-time African champions ASEC.

A dismal start to their group-stage campaign saw Martin Jol's men lose 3-2 to ZESCO away from home, with the Zambians largely considered the outsiders in a group that also comprises Morocco's Wydad.

Jol will now be looking to make the most of Ahly's buoyant mood and high morale following their domestic trophy, which they secured with two matches to spare.

More important, however, is the presence of home fans at the army-owned venue, where 15,000 supporters will be allowed to enter the stadium six hours before the match despite the ongoing crowd ban in domestic competitions.

The Ivoirians on the other hand will be determined to avoid a second consecutive group-stage defeat after succumbing to a 1-0 home defeat to Wydad in the opener in Abidjan.

"The game against ASEC will not be an easy game. They are a strong side with an imposing African pedigree as they also boast some decent players," Ahly assistant manager Osama Orabi told reporters.

"ASEC have three quality players in attack and midfield. Mr. Jol will surely select the suitable plan and formation that will help the team deal with them.

"Winning the league title would surely give us a boost against ASEC as we need to bounce back following the opening defeat at ZESCO."

Ahly will miss the pace of burly Gabon striker Malick Evouna, who is still nursing an ankle injury – as Ghanaian forward John Antwi continues to lead the line.

Attacking midfielder Abdallah El-Said is also sidelined with a niggling collar bone injury sustained two weeks ago in a domestic league game and is expected to miss around six weeks.

Midfield anchor Hossam Ashour picked up a minor knock against Ismaily and right-back Ahmed Fathi had a stomach problem ahead of Friday's league win, but both are set to start against ASEC.

Young winger Ramadan Sobhi, who is being targeted by English Premier League side Stoke City, has been ruled out after receiving a minor injury during a Monday training session.

Record eight-time continental champions Ahly won the last of their Champions League titles in 2013 following a 3-1 aggregate victory over South Africa's Orlando Pirates.

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