Ahly midfielder Mohamed Abou-Treika
Ahly playmaker Mohamed Abou-Treika has credited the backing and support of coach Manuel Jose Da Silva for helping him return to top form.
The 33-year old midfielder came off the bench on Monday against Stade Malien to score three second-half goals which helped Ahly win 3-1 and qualify for the CAF Champions League group stage.
"Jose has always backed me and put a lot of trust in my skill. The first goal gave me a lot of confidence and it brought back memories of my performances in the 2006 World Club Cup in Japan," Abou-Treika told Egyptian news agency MENA on Tuesday.
Ahly were stunned by an early goal and needed three goals to edge past the Malians after their 1-0 defeat in the first leg. The gifted playmaker curled in a magnificent 20-yard free kick on 54 minutes, then put his team in the lead from the spot on 83 minutes before scoring the winner minutes from time.
"I would like to thank all the players and especially Abou-Treika who scored a hat-trick. He had the flu and didn't train beforehand but insisted on playing in this crucial game," Ahly coach Da Silva said after the game.
The Red Devils were handed a tough draw in the next round after being paired with DR Congo's TP Mazembe, fellow countrymen and archrivals Zamalek and Ghana's rising stars Berekum Chelsea.
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