‘I don't see us as the favourites’: Ahly's Koller wary of evolved Esperance

Ahram Online , Friday 17 May 2024

Ahly manager Marcel Koller warned his side against complacency ahead of their CAF Champions League final first leg against Esperance de Tunis on Saturday, stressing that the Tunisian giants have significantly improved since their last meeting.

 Marcel Koller
Ahly manager Marcel Koller

 

Ahly, the reigning champions, are aiming for a record-extending 12th title of Africa’s prestigious tournament when they take on Esperance in Rades, Tunisia.

"Esperance are a big team, but last year's game was a different story," Koller said at a press conference on Friday. "This time we'll be facing a much-evolved side, and playing in a Champions League final adds another layer of complexity, especially with the return of fans."

The Swiss coach acknowledged Esperance's development, having closely monitored their performances this season.

"I've watched several Esperance games this season. They are a different team compared to last year," said Koller.

"Football is not about history or experience; it is more about what happens on the pitch. The level between Ahly and Esperance is close, so I don't see us as the favourites. We both have an equal chance," he added.

The 63-year-old coach highlighted the unique atmosphere of a Champions League final compared to domestic fixtures.

"Domestic matches can't be compared to a Champions League final," he explained. "The atmosphere and motivation are completely different."

The Red Devils will look to their fervent home support when they host Esperance in the return leg at Cairo International Stadium a week later.

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