Preview: Ahly to seal Confed Cup semis against Etoile

Karim Farouk, Saturday 23 Aug 2014

Ahly aims to be the first Egyptian side to win the Confederation Cup

(Photo: Ahram)

Egyptian giants Ahly need a single point from their home game against Tunisian side Etoile du Sahel on Saturday to reach the last four of the African Confederation Cup.

It is a very tight contest in Ahly’s Group B with Ahly on top at 8 points; the Red Devils are just ahead of Nkana from Zambia (7 points), Sewe Sport from Ivory Coast (6 points) and Etoile du Sahel from Tunisia (5 points).

"We know a draw is enough for us but we are Ahly, the biggest team in Africa, and so we will only aim for victory," staff member and former team captain Wael Gomaa said.

Coach Juan Carlos Garrido will have a full team as tireless midfielder Hossam Ashour and flashy winger Walid Soliman have recovered from minor injuries and have been cleared for the game.

The Spaniard – who was appointed last July - has intensified his training sessions in an attempt to get them in shape and get them to adapt to his methods.

In spite of playing the game at home, team skipper Hossam Ghaly thinks it will be a tough encounter. "Etoile is an experienced team and they know how to deal with big teams. We are not the same as before because many big and experienced stars have left the team. During some matches we had only three players on the bench. We must work hard in this phase to achieve victories," he said.

The eight-time African champions seems to have a depleted squad compared to previous years as veteran trio Mohamed Abou-Treika, Wael Gomaa and Mohamed Barakat have hung up their boots, Ahmed Fathi moved to Qatari side Umm Salal and Mohamed Nagy "Gedo" and Abdallah El-Said are still out with lengthy injuries.

The Red Devils hope to break the Confederation Cup jinx as no Egyptian club has ever won the title of the competition which was launched in 2004.

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