Preview: Ahly in must-win CL mission against Cotonsport

Omar Zaazou , Friday 7 Jul 2017

Egypt's Ahly settle for a 0-0 draw with Zambia's Zanaco in the African Champions League on Saturday (Ahram)

Ahly will be eyeing nothing less than victory when they host Cameroon’s Cotonsport in the CAF Champions League final Group D game at Alexandria’s Borg El-Arab Stadium on Saturday.

Going into the game in third position on eight points, one behind second-placed Wydad Casablanca and three adrift of leaders Zanaco, Ahly have no other option but to beat already-eliminated Cotonsport to book a last-eight berth.

Given the Cameroonians dismal record of nil points, the Reds should find no problem cruising to an easy win against their unfancied opponents.

The Ahly management, however, was keen to stress that they should not rest on their laurels against the group outsiders, with goalkeeping coach Tarek Soliman citing low-key league games where they failed to win.

“Who said the game (against Cotonsport) will be easy? There is no such thing in football,” Soliman told Ahly’s satellite TV channel.

“We strived to draw against (newly-promoted) Sharqeya in the league, where we could have lost the game in the final minutes.

“That’s not the only game where we failed to win, but there were also other games where we even struggled to draw.”

The Reds, who played out a goalless draw at Zanaco in the previous group game, go into the Coton fixture with an almost fully-fit squad.

They will be missing skipper Hossam Ghaly after the latter expressed discontent upon his substitution in the 1-1 league draw with Masry a few days ago.

Left-back Hussein El-Sayed, long-term absentee Marwan Mohsen and winger Ahmed Hamoudi are nursing respective injuries, with Ahly particularly staffed in these positions.

A limited number of 10,000 Ahly fans will be allowed to cheer on their side against Cotonsport, as has always been the case in African games.

Ahly, record title holders with eight Champions League accolades under their belt, last won the tournament in 2013.  

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