Lack of playing behind Ahly’s draw with Belouizdad, says ‘satisfied’ Koller

Ahmed Abd El Rasoul , Saturday 17 Feb 2024

Ahly coach Marcel Koller blamed lack of playing in the last six weeks for Friday’s Champions League draw with Algeria's Chabab De Belouizdad, stressing that his team is determined to qualify for the next round as group leaders.

Marcel Koller,
CAF Champions League, Al Ahly s Starting Line-up, Marcel Koller, Football. Photo: Al-Ahly official website


The Cairo giants were held to a goalless draw by Algeria's Chabab De Belouizdad in the fourth round of the prestigious tournament group stage at the 5 July Stadium.

Despite the stalemate, the Red Devils, who were missing several key players due to injury, managed to maintain their position at the top of the group.

“We are not in our best shape yet as we did not play a single game during the last six weeks and also the international players joined the team late after finishing their international duty,” Koller said in the press conference after the match, referring to the stoppage due to recent African Cup of Nations.

“On the contrary, Belouizdad play regularly in the Algerian league and they are ready; what appeared today is that they were the better side,” the Swiss coach added.

Koller also highlighted the strength of the Algerian opponent, insisting that Friday’s result is acceptable for him.

“Belouizdad is a very good team and they delivered outstanding football. It is a quick and strong team. I knew all these facts before the game and so I am satisfied with the result,” the Ahly coach explained.

With Friday’s draw, Ahly maintain their position at the top of Group D with six points, closely followed by Belouizdad and Tanzania’s Young Africans, who are one point behind. Ghana’s Medeama currently occupies the bottom spot in the group with four points.

Ahly will be facing Medeama in the fifth round on Friday and according to Koller the team needs special preparations for that difficult test.

“We still have two games in hand and our main target is to win both of them and qualify as the group leaders, but it is not an easy mission. We will be playing a difficult away game against Medeama,” he said.

“We do not have official games at the time being so we will do our best to prepare the team for that difficult game. The final group stage match will be like a final for us and we will try to qualify as the leaders as usual,” the Ahly coach concluded.

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