Preview: Egypt's Ismaily back in African Champions League with faint qualification hopes

Ahmad Hassan, Friday 22 Feb 2019

Ismaily Photo: Ahram

Having been given a sudden reprieve after African governing body CAF reinstated them to the Champions League, Ismaily will be seeking to cling to their faint qualification hopes when they host Algeria's CS Constantine in Alexandria on Saturday.

Ismaily will be looking to secure their first group stage victory after two opening defeats by Mazembe and Club Africain, the last of which ignited crowd trouble that prompted CAF to expel them from the tournament last month.

But the club lodged a successful appeal and now they are back in Africa's flagship competition with four matches remaining in Group C and a mountain to climb if they are to keep their qualification hopes alive.

"From what has been seen, there has been no invasion of the ground and aggression against the opposing team has not been established," CAF communications director Nathalie Rabe told AFP.

"These are the two conditions necessary to declare the host team losing (the match) and (being) eliminated from the competition.”

Ismaily have no option but to defeat CS Constantine but they will play without their fervent supporters after CAF hit them with a crowd ban.

Team captain Mahmoud Metwalli held a meeting with the players in which the 26-year-old midfielder stressed the importance of winning the game against the Algeria side in order to improve their complicated position in the group.

Ismaily lie at the bottom of the group with no points, with Mazembe in the lead with seven points followed by Constantine on six and Club Africain on four.

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