Victory against Sundowns restored some pride, says Ahly coach

Ahram Online , Saturday 7 Mar 2020

Ahly's Swiss manager Rene Weiler gestures after the first leg of the CAF Champions League Quarter-final football match between Egypt's Al-Ahly and South Africa's Mamelodi Sundowns at al-Ahly Stadium in the capital Cairo on February 29, 2020. (Photo: AFP)

Ahly coach Rene Weiler believes his team's victory against Sundowns and qualification for the African Champions League semis has helped them restore some of their pride following last year's humiliating exit against the South Africans.

Last year, Ahly were stunned by a 5-1 aggregate defeat, with the 5-0 first-leg fiasco in Pretoria marking their worst ever African defeat.

The Red Devils turned around their fortunes this year, claiming a 2-0 victory in Cairo before holding Sundowns to a 1-1 draw in the second leg on Saturday.

"This victory has restored some pride for the players and club following last season's defeat. Starting from tomorrow, we will start preparing for the semi-final because our aim is bigger than that," the Swiss boss told the post-match news conference.

The eight-time African Champions, who had their last taste of Champions League silverware in 2013, are chasing their ninth title after failing in previous bids in 2017 and 2018, losing in the final to Morocco's Wydad Casablanca and Tunisia's Esperance respectively.

Ahly will face the winner of Wydad and Tunisian side Etoile du Sahel, who play later on Saturday. Wydad hold a 2-0 first-leg advantage.


Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane, looking frustrated, has blamed Ahly keeper Mohamed El Shennawi for wasting time.

"I am upset that Ahly's keeper wasted time during the game, but that is a thing we can't change as we are in Africa and not Europe. I think that mister Weiler (Ahly coach) is not be happy with what happened during the game too," Mosimane told the news conference.

The 55-year-old tactician also highlighted Ahly's financial power as a clear advantage for the Cairo side.

"Ahly sign players with millions of dollars such as Aliou Badji, Aliou Dieng and Ramadan Sobhi. We played against Rapid Vienna striker (Badji) whom they bought in January for $2m or $3m," he concluded.

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