Ahly's keeper Mohamed El-Shennawi (R) during a recent training session (Photo: Ahly's official website)
Ahly’s French coach Patrice Carteron has defended first choice goalkeeper Mohamed El-Shennawi after his recent shaky performance, stressing that the international goalie is fighting to guide the Reds to success.
Shennawi fell under fire after Tuesday's 2-1 loss against ES Setif in the CAF Champions League semis second leg.
"El-Shennawi is the national team's main keeper. He delivered strong matches with Ahly and faults are possible in football, not only for the goalkeeping position, but also for other positions," Carteron was quoted as saying by Ahly's official website.
A blunder from the 29-year old keeper allowed ES Setif to level the score in the 68th minute as the international keeper let an easy cross slip between his hands into his own net.
Despite the loss, Ahly qualified for the final after winning 3-2 on aggregate, thanks to the 2-0 first-leg win the team sealed in Cairo on 2 October.
"I have unlimited confidence in all our keepers, El-Shennawi, Sherif Ekramy, and Ali Lotfy, and I am happy for having those experienced players on my team," said the Ahly coach.
"I trust El-Shennawi and he faces unjustified criticism on many occasions,” said Carteron.
"The player is fighting with Ahly to collect titles. He exerts huge effort during matches to keep a clean sheet and secure victories," the coach concluded.
Ahly, the eight-time Africa champions, made their way to their second consecutive CAF Champions League final to face off with two-time champions Esperance of Tunisia.
The Egyptian league champions will be hosting UAE's Al-Wasl on Sunday in the first leg the Arab tournament (Zayed Champions Cup) round of 16.
(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)