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Ahly happy to avoid Zamalek in CAF Champions League group stage

Ahram Online , Thursday 23 Mar 2017
Ahly v Zamalek
Ahly's Ahmed Hegazy (L) and Zamalek's Bassem Morsi challenge for the ball during an Egyptian Premier League clash on 9 February, 2016 (Reuters)

Ahly football director Sayed Abdel-Hafiz has expressed his pleasure at avoiding a match with arch-rivals Zamalek in the CAF Champions League group stage ahead of the tournament's draw.

The 16 teams in the group stage will be divided into four pots, according to a points system based on their CAF 5-Year Ranking. The tournament draw, which takes place in April, will then match teams from one pot against another to form four new groups.

Since Ahly and Zamalek are currently in the same pot, they cannot be matched at the group stage.

"Zamalek is our opponent in the Egyptian Premier League so we could not be matched against them in the CAF Champions League," Abdel-Hafiz told a television programme.

"Ahly played 25 games this season in the domestic competition and the Champions League as we didn't lose any games," he added.

The eight-time African Champions sealed a place in the continental competition's group stages following a 1-0 win on aggregate.

In the group stage, the 16 teams are drawn into four groups of four. Each group is played on a home-and-away round-robin basis. The winners and runners-up of each group advance to the quarter-finals.

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