Ahly coach Pitso Mosimane. Reuters
“They [Raja] have a lot of experience and a big history. It will be a difficult game for both teams,” Mosimane told a pre-game news conference on Thursday.
A wasteful Ahly side gained a narrow 2-1 victory in Cairo on Friday and need to avoid defeat when playing in front of a passionate crowd in a packed Mohamed V Stadium.
“Ahly is used to to play big games and we were able to achieve important results in front of large crowds. We have met Raja twice recently and won both games. We have a lot of respect for them, but tomorrow we are going to play to win and qualify for the semifinals,” he added.
The Reds beat Raja on penalties (6-5, 1-1 in regular time) in December 2021 to claim their eighth African Super Cup title and then defeated them in the home leg a week ago in game that was marred by a VAR controversy.
Ahly were awarded a first penalty when a left-wing cross appeared to have struck the flailing arm of midfielder Mohamed Al-Makahasi, with Congolese referee Jean Jacques Ndala pointing to the spot after watching a video replay.
However, further replays, which were only shown after Ndala had already made up his mind and gave Ahly the penalty, showed the ball bouncing off Al-Makahasi's knee before hitting his arm.
“I do not want to comment on refereeing, my concentration is entirely on the pitch. I am glad we have VAR and I hope that starting from next season it would be implemented during group stage too.”
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has implemented VAR in African competitions this season starting from the knock-out stage.
(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)