Down to the wire

Tuesday 21 Mar 2023

club Ahly


Storied Egyptian football club Ahly have a last chance to enter the quarter-finals of the CAF African Champions League when they host Al Hilal of Sudan on Friday 31 March.

Going into the last of six games in the group stage, Ahly, the record 10-time title holder, are in third place in Group B with seven points, three behind Al Hilal.
A win or a draw are enough to see Al Hilal through.

To advance to the round of eight Ahly must either win by a two-goal margin or score a 1-0 victory.

If both finish with 10 points, the tiebreaker will be decided first by the head-to-head record, then goal difference, followed by most goals scored.

Al-Hilal won the first leg in Sudan 1-0.

Both have a plus three goal difference. Ahly have scored 11 goals to Al Hilal’s six.

With still one match to go, Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa have qualified for the knockout stage, leading the group with an unassailable 11 points.

Coton Sport of Cameroon are officially out with zero points from five matches.

Ahly’s crosstown rivals Zamalek have nothing to look forward to, knocked out of the group stage in the same competition. A 2-0 defeat against Algeria's CR Belouizdad on Friday meant Zamalek, a five-time champion of the tournament, have been ousted from the group stage for the third season in a row.

Defending champions Wydad Casablanca of Morocco are into the quarter-finals.

In the CAF Confederation Cup, in Group C and also with one game left, Egyptian pair Pyramids and Future will go head to head for a place in the last eight. 

FAR Rabat head Group C with 10 points, followed by Pyramids and Future with eight points each.

The all-Egyptian showdown is tentatively scheduled for Sunday 2 April.

On the international scene, Egypt and Malawi are to play a doubleheader later this month in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

The first game will be held on Friday 24 March at Cairo International Stadium, with the second game taking place on Tuesday 28 March at the Lilongwe Bingu National Stadium in Malawi's capital.

Egypt are currently third in Group D with three points after beating Guinea 1-0 at home but losing to Ethiopia 2-0 in Addis Ababa.

The 2024 Africa Cup of Nations, or AFCON, will be played in Ivory Coast in January and February.

Egypt are a record seven-time winner.

A version of this article appears in print in the 23 March, 2023 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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