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Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Ahly assistant coach blames difficult atmosphere in Tunisia for African title loss

Ahmed Abd El Rasoul, Saturday 10 Nov 2018
Ahly
ES Tunis' forward Mohamed Youcef Belaili (R) fights for the ball with AL-Ahly's defender Mohamed Hany Eldemerdash during the CAF Champions League second leg final football match between Egypt's Al-Ahly and Tunisia's ES Tunis at the Olympic stadium in Rades on November 9, 2018. (Photo: AFP)
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Ahly assistant coach Mohamed Youssef has blamed the terrible atmosphere in Tunisia for being the main reason behind losing the African Champions League title against Esperance on Friday.

Esperance overturned a 3-1 first-leg deficit last week to earn a deserved 3-0 victory in the return match in Rades on Friday, securing their third title in history with a 4-3 aggregate win.

“Congatulations for Esperance. It was a bad luck for Ahly. We hoped to deliver better performance but what happened is possible amid the pre-match circumstances and atmosphere,” Youssef said in the press conference after the match.

“We met difficult circumstances during our 72 hours-stay in Tunisia before the match and the atmosphere was totally far from football. The latest incident was the assault on our bus and injuring one of our players by a thrown stone as we were obliged to exclude him from the match.

“I salute Ahly players as they tried to do their best during this difficult atmosphere. We played a balanced first half but the first goal embarrassed us besides the injury of Mohamed Hany and the suspension of Walid Azzaro,” he added.

Ahly lost in the final for the second successive year, having suffered a defeat by Morocco's Wydad in last year's final. Esperance won the Champions League for the third time after earning their first victory over Ahly since 2011. 

“This is football. We respect CAF decisions but we were negatively affected by the quick sanctions on Ahly directly before the match,” Assistant coach Youssef explained.
“Ahly remains leader of African clubs with its host of titles,” he concluded.

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