Preview: Ahly, shorn of key players, seek to maintain grip on CAF Champions League

Ahram Online , Thursday 15 Feb 2024

Egyptian giants Ahly will have to dig deep to overcome their absences and claim a crucial victory when they visit Algerian side CR Belouizdad at the 5 July Stadium on Friday.

Mohamed Hany in action against CR Belouizdad in Cairo on 8 December. Photo: Ahly's facebook page


The Red Devils will be without 11 players, due to various reasons, including first-choice goalkeeper Mohamed El Shenawy, star South African winger Percy Tau, Mali international midfielder Aliou Dieng and the new signing Wissem Abou Ali.

However coach Marcel Koller would welcome back Moroccan winger Reda Slim, who returned after a lenghty shoulder injury, and midfielder Amr El Sulaya.

The Egyptian giants, who drew 0-0 with Belouizdad in Cairo last December, sit atop the group with five points from three matches, level on points with Young Africans but ahead on goal difference. Belouizdad are third on four points, alongside Medeama SC.

Despite facing a significant challenge, Koller remains confident. "We know Belouizdad are tough opponents, but we are ready to secure the points and return home victorious," he said on Thursday during the pre-game press conference.

On the other side, CR Belouizdad's coach, Marcos Paqueta, emphasized the importance of the match despite it not being decisive for qualification to the next round.

"Facing Ahly is not decisive for qualifying for the next round, but the match remains important. We don't care about Ahly's absences and the match will be played between 11 players against 11 players." Paqueta said.

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