Preview: Ahly in critical mission against South African rivals Sundowns in CAF Champions League

Mahmoud Elassal , Friday 24 Feb 2023

Egypt’s Ahly need to claim their first win in the CAF Champions League group stage games when they face a traditional rival in Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa in the third round on Saturday at Al Salam Stadium in Cairo.

File photo: Mamelodi Sundowns forward Sibusiso Vilakazi (C) fights for the ball with Al-Ahly s defender Yasser Ibrahim (R) and Al-Ahly s defender Ramy Moustafa (L) during the CAF Champions League Quarter-final second leg match between South Africa s Mamelodi Sundowns and Egypt s Al-Ahly at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville on March 7, 2020. (Photo AFP)


Ahly lost the opener in their campaign in Group B with a 1-0 loss to Al-Hilal of Sudan at Omdurman stadium last week.

Their first round game against Cameroon's Coton Sport was postponed due to their participation in the Club World Cup.

Mamelodi Sundowns claimed full mark in the previous two rounds of the group stage.

The South African side defeated Al-Hilal of Sudan 1-0 before beating Coton Sport 3-1 away from home to stay in the driving seat of Group B with six points.

Ahly are third in the ranking with no points and two games to go.

However, Ahly enter Saturday’s match with some momentum after they defeated Aswan 3-0 in the Egyptian Premier League on Wednesday.

“We have several things that we need to improve. We are still working on getting the team to be in the best shape in the upcoming matches despite today’s victory. I am so proud of the team,” Ahly coach Marcel Koller was quoted as saying on the club’s official website.

Meanwhile, Ahly football director Sayed Abdel-Hafiz referred to the importance of the victory in the league as it will give the players a push in the coming continental game.

Ahly will play the coming two rounds of the CAF Champions League group stage at home as they will also host Coton Sport a week after playing against Sundowns.

“We are concentrating only on the game against Sundowns as we forgot all the previous games,” Abdel-Hafiz said.

“It is important for the team to be ready for the two home games,” the Ahly football director added.

Ahly and Mamelodi Sundowns have met 12 times before in the African Champions League, with the Red Devils claiming five victories, losing three times and drawing in four games.

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