Less than four days after losing to arch-rivals Zamalek in the Egypt Cup final, wounded Ahly will face a tough test when they host Zambia's ZESCO United in the fifth round of the CAF Champions League group stage on Friday.
The Cairo giants Ahly, who lie third in Group A, are bidding for a place in the CAF Champions league semis after wasting multiple points in three of their first four games.
Ahly started their bid by losing to ZESCO 3-2, ASEC of Ivory Coast 2-1 then drew with Morocco's Wydad 0-0 in Cairo before finally beating the Moroccan side 1-0 in Casablanca.
"ZESCO's game will be difficult but the team is ready for an adventure since it's the last chance to compete on a place in the semifinals," Ahly coach Martin Jol was quoted as saying on the club's official website on Thursday.
"We will play the game for a win and we are ready to qualify for the semis," he added.
Ahly lost on Monday to arch-rivals Zamalek 3-1 in the Egypt Cup final and the team continues to suffer injuries and fatigue.
"The defeat by Zamalek will not have any negative impact when we play against ZESCO United," Jol said.
"I talked with my players and asked them to forget about the Cup defeat. Ahly is a big team with experienced players who should focus on every tournament and set aside any stumble."
Ahly will have to do without injured key international defender Ahmed Hegazy while Hossam Ashour and Walid Soliman have been struggling with fitness but have been included in the squad for the game.
The Red Devils now lie third in Group A with four points, on level with Ivory Coast's ASEC Mimosas and three short of joint leaders Wydad and ZESCO with two matches remaining.
The Zambia's ZESCO, who are second in Group A teams' table with 7 points, have their own reasons to fight not to lose to Ahly in order to reach the tournament's semis.
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