File Photo: Soccer Football - African Champions League Final - Zamalek v Al Ahly - Cairo International Stadium, Cairo, Egypt -taken on November 27, 2020 Zamalek's Mahmoud Alaa in action. REUTERS
Ahly arrived late on Wednesday in Sudan to face Al-Merrikh in the 5th round of the African Champions League group stage, while stumbling Zamalek will fly off to Algeria on Thursday to meet MC Alger in the same round.
The Reds, who placed second in Group A with 7 points after four rounds, are bidding to secure a qualifying post to the next stage through Al-Merrikh; if they win in the fifth round, they will book their seat in the quarterfinals.
Tanzanian side Simba leads Group A with 10 points, DR Congo’s Vita Club are third with four points, while Al-Merrikh are placed at the bottom with a single point.
Ahly were stunned with a surprise 1-0 loss to Simba and a 2-2 draw at home to Vita Club, before recovering by beating the latter 3-0 away, a victory which put them in position to reach the last eight.
Ahly’s squad will be boosted by the return of winger Walid Soliman after recovering from injury, and injured defender Ayman Ashraf will also be included in Ahly’s squad list for the Al-Merrikh game, which is scheduled to be played on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Zamalek, who have not been performing well in their latest games, will be fighting for a seat in the Champions League quarterfinals, especially after they lost at home to Esperance 0-1 in the fourth round.
The loss against Esperance left Zamalek with an uphill climb, as they lie third in Group D with two points, five behind MC Alger and eight adrift of leaders Esperance, who have already secured passage to the last eight.
Zamalek must beat MC Alger on Saturday in the fifth round, in addition to defeating bottom side Teungueth of Senegal in their final two games and hope MC Alger lose away to Esperance to qualify.
French coach Patrice Carteron decided to include Tunisian striker Seifeddine Jaziri as a guest in the squad travelling to Algeria.
However, the Tunisian striker can not participate in any game during the current edition of the Champions League wearing a Zamalek shirt since he already played for Arab Contractors in the CAF Confederations Cup.
Carteron also included Abdallah Gomaa, who picked up an injury during his national duty with the Pharaohs in the 2021 African Cup of Nations qualifiers.
The Whites are scheduled to travel to Algeria on Thursday afternoon, ahead of their game against MC Alger which will take place on Saturday.
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