Coaches react as Egypt's Ahly defeat Etoile du Sahel of Tunisia

Eslam Omar , Sunday 26 Jul 2015

Ahly coach criticises tight schedule despite 1-0 victory over Etoile du Sahel of Tunisia, Benzarti prepares for the return-leg

Al-Ahly's coach Fathi Mabrouk reacts during their Egyptian Premier League soccer match against El Zamalek at Borg El Arab "Army Stadium", west of the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, July 21, 2015 (Reuters)

Ahly coach Fathi Mabrouk has praised his team after Sunday's precious 1-0 home victory over Tunisia's Etoile du Sahel, which sent them top of Group A in the African Confederation Cup.

"It is a very important win as it gave us back the group lead. I thank the players for their effort in the whole game," Mabrouk told the club's official website after the game.

Walid Soliman netted in the first half to give defending champions Ahly all three points and a second win in three games – the first win came against another Tunisian rival in Esperance.

"The players could have performed better but the tight schedule is causing fatigue as we play a game almost every three days," Mabrouk added.

The Cairo giants are in the final stage of the Egyptian Premier League competition with only two games remaining. Six points separate them from leaders Zamalek despite the 2-0 Cairo derby win Tuesday.

"No break for Ahly ahead of Smouha league game Tuesday. The team will be having a training session Sunday afternoon," the club stated.

You were better, see you in Tunisia: Benzarti

Coach Faouzi Benzarti
Coach Faouzi Benzarti (Reuters)

From their side, Etoile du Sahel coach Faouzi Benzarti blamed missing key players for the defeat, confessing that Ahly had the upper hand.

"The Egyptian league is still ongoing, unlike in Tunisia. There are technical and physical differences as we don't play official games and only prepare by friendlies," the 65-year-old tactician was quoted as saying on the Ahly website.

One-time Confederation Cup winners Etoile slipped to second spot in the group on six points, one adrift of Ahly, and five ahead of Stade Malien.

"We will be ready for Ahly at home and we will be more dangerous as we are preparing our unstoppable weapon… the crowd," Benzarti asserted.

All football games in Egypt are currently being held behind closed doors due to repeated stadium disasters that left dozens of causalities.

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