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Monday, 20 January 2020

Preview: Buoyant Ahly face tough test against Tunisia's Etoile in CAF Champions League

Last time Ahly met Etoile, in October 2017 for the semifinal of CAF Champions League, the Reds hammered the Tunisian giants 6-2

Mahmoud Sheleib, Thursday 28 Nov 2019
Ahly
Ahly players celebrate the 3-0 win over Gouna in Egyptian Premier League. (Photo: Al Ahram)
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Riding high after securing seven victories in a row since the beginning of the season, Ahly will be seeking an eighth against Etoile Sportive du Sahel on Friday, in the first round on the road to the long-awaited African Champions League title.

Ahly, who thrashed Gouna 4-0 in their latest match in the Egyptian Premier League, will face the Tunisian side on the first matchday of the Confederation of African Football’s (CAF) Champions League group stage.

The team has had an unbroken string of successes since Swiss coach Rene Weiler took charge, many ending in a three-goal difference or more.

Weiler has restored the Reds’ attacking efficiency, which had been missing for a while, and his work in enhancing players' positioning and taking decisions in the field were very obvious, especially in the case of Ramadan Sobhi.

Sobhi shone in the Africa U23 Cup of Nations, which Egypt won, and he was named the best player of the tournament.

In the Gouna game, Weiler managed to polish veteran winger Walid Soliman, who hadn't started with the team in more than two months, by putting him in the playmaker position. He performed brilliantly, scoring a hat trick in nearly 70 minutes.

The eight-time CAF Champions League winners are expected to start the Etoile de Sahel game with the same formation as in the Gouna match, but with a few minor changes, for example starting with Sobhi in the left wing instead of Junior Ajayi.

Last time Ahly met Etoile was in October 2017 in the semifinal of the CAF Champions League at Borg El-Arab stadium, a match which the Reds won 6-2.

Etoile Sportive du Sahel currently lie sixth in the Tunisian domestic league with 14 points after playing seven games.

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