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Preview: Ahly hope narrow first-leg lead gives them edge at Bidvest Wits

Omar Zaazou , Saturday 18 Mar 2017
Ahly
Ahmed Hegazy scores AL-Ahly only one goal against Bidvest Wits in the African Champions League round of 32 (Photo: Al-Ahly official website )
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Ahly will be hoping their 1-0 first-leg lead would give them an edge when they visit South Africa's Bitvest Wits in the Champions League round of 32 return leg on Sunday.

Having failed to add to Ahmed Hegazy's second-half headed goal against the Champions League debutants at Cairo's El-Salam Stadium a week ago, the Reds know quite well they take an uncomfortable lead to Johannesburg.

Bearing in mind that their opponents are organized at the back, having kept Ahly at bay throughout the first half of the first leg, the Cairo giants know they will be up against a tactically well-drilled side.

Moreover, Bidvest showed signs of their abilities in possession in Cairo, looking to play passing combinations instead of resorting to long balls, meaning they may be able to cause them problems at their home venue.

"It will be a difficult game, manager Hossam El-Badry knows the opponents are a strong side," assistant manager Ahmed Ayoub told reporters.

On the other side, Bidvest manager Gavin Hunt is convinced his side's last-16 qualification hopes are still alive and that they will be looking to beat the eight-time African champions on Sunday evening.

“We’re still alive in the competition. We played really well in a hostile environment. I was proud of the boys’ effort,” Hunt told SunSport.

"Al Ahly are a class act. They have half of the Egyptian national team in their side so our result was a credible one, but we know we have to go for it at home."

“The players are really up for this game. But there are no expectations on us.

 “The fact we came away from Cairo losing by a single goal gives the players a lot of optimism and hope that we can beat them at home.

“We’ll go all out. We’re still very much alive and want to progress to the next stage.”    

Ahly will be missing the services of skipper Hossam Ghaly and forward Junior Ajayi at Bidvest due to respective injuries, alongside long-term absentee Marwan Mohsen.

Attacking midfielder Moemen Zakareya has been an initial doubt for the return leg but has been declared fit to play.

The hosts, meanwhile, will be missing defender Thulani Hlatshwayo due to suspension.  

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

 
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