Preview: Ahly aim to regain winning rhythm in Champions League against Sudan's Al-Hilal

Mahmoud Elassal , Thursday 5 Dec 2019

 Ahly face Sudan

After opening their African Champions League group stage campaign with a 1-0 loss to Etoile Sahel, Ahly will face Al-Hilal of Sudan at home on Friday.

The Cairo giants are eager to return to the right track after losing in the Group opener.

Ahly's 10-man team tasted their first defeat under coach Rene Weiler after slumping to a 1-0 loss to Tunisia's Etoile Sahel at Rades satduim last week.

"We were performing well and we were the better side despite playing with 10 players after just 13 minutes from the game start," Weiler explained after the game

"We faced difficulties in creating opportunities because of Etoile's tightened defence, but at the same time we blocked any chances for our opponents.

"Ahly performed well for 80 minutes of the match," he added.

The Red Devils have enjoyed seven straight wins since Weiler took over in the summer, earning plaudits for a series of fine displays, but the defeat in Rades stopped Ahly's winning  run.

Ahly's Tunisian left back Ali Maaloul could be a major doubt for the game against Al-Hilal after suffering from muscle strength problems during last week's game against Etoile Sahel.

"Maaloul underwent medical tests to determine his availability for the game against Al-Hilal ahead of Thursday's training session, and he will complete his rehab in the club's gym," read a statement by Ahly.

Ahly, who are eyeing their first Champions League title since winning the last of their record eight crowns in 2013, will be supported by up to 15,000 fans attending the game from the stadium after the team was given the green light to raise the number of the game's tickets from 10,000.

Ahly's coach Weiler rested his regular squad during Tuesday's 3-1 win over second-division side Beni Suef in the Egypt Cup to give the players a chance to recover from exhaustion after the Tunisia trip last Friday.

Sudanese Al-Hilal opened their CAF Champions League group stage campaign by beating FC Platinums of Zimbabwe 2-1 at home, also on Friday.

Al-Hilal are in the driving seat of Group B table with three points, on level with Etoile, while Ahly placed in the bottom with no points.

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