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Preview: Ahly face lowly Ragaa with eye on Champions League clash

Ahram Online , Sunday 15 Oct 2017
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Ahly are expected to enjoy a smooth ride against lowly Ragaa in Monday's Egyptian Premier League game, after which they will turn their attention to the much more important African Champions League semi-final clash against Etoile du Sahel.

The Red Devils recovered from a disappointing 1-1 draw with Talae El-Geish in their opening game of the season to secure an easy 2-0 win over Ittihad of Alexandria last week.

They should find no difficulty claiming a second straight win over a Ragaa side who have lost all four games and failed to score a single goal so far this season.

Their attention will then be fully directed to the semi-final second leg clash at home to Tunisia's Etoile Sahel on Sunday.

Ahly host their North African rivals at Alexandria's Borg El-Arab Stadium, hoping to overturn a 2-1 first-leg deficit to reach their first Champions League final since lifting the last of their record eight trophies in 2013.

The build-up to the anticipated clash was overshadowed by a dispute involving veteran striker Emad Meteb, once a key player who is now only playing a bit-part role.

Meteb seemed unhappy with the little time given to him to play when coach Hossam El-Badry called him off the bench in the 80th minute of the win over Ittihad.

When the former Egypt striker appeared not interested in warming up, El-Badry decided to keep him on the bench and introduce midfielder Akram Tawfik for Moroccan striker Waliz Azaro. Meteb then threw his training shirt to the ground in protest at the coach's decision.

The 34-year-old escaped a punishment by Ahly but was however dropped from the match against Ragaa.

The Cairo giants will also miss winger Walid Soliman, who picked up an ankle injury after a reckless challenge from Ittihad's Hesham Shehata, who was consequently sent off.

Ahly welcome back Tunisian left-back Ali Maaloul and Egypt's versatile defender Ahmed Fathi after both were rested against Ittihad.

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

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