Depleted Ahly ease past Coton Sport to revive CAF Champions League hopes

Mahmoud Elassal , Saturday 4 Mar 2023

Despite missing six key players, Ahly showed their Cameroonian visitors Coton Sport there is a difference in class as they won 3-0 on Saturday in Cairo to boost their hopes of reaching the quarter-finals of the CAF Champions League.

Ahly striker Mohamed Sherif and midfielder Hamdy Fathy celebrate after their team's first goal. Photo: Ahly twitter account.


Mohamed Sherif opened the scoring as early as the first minute and maidan goals for Algerian new signing Ahmed Kendouci and youngster Raafat Khalil in the 40th and 90th minutes completed the rout.

The 10-time African Champions stayed third in Group B ranking with four points, trailing South Africa's Mamelodi Sundowns who lead the group with seven points and Sudan's Al-Hilal who are second with six. Coton Sport are currently bottom of the group without any points.

Swiss coach Marcel Koller had to rotate his team as Mahmoud 'Kahraba' Abdel-Moneim, Hussein El Shahat, Mahmoud Metwally, Ahmed Abdel-Kader, Amr El Sulaya and Khaled Abdel-Fattah have been ruled out with injuries.

Back in the starting lineup, Sherif needed only 53 seconds to prove his coach right as he collected a cutback pass from Taher Mohamed Taher to fire into the top corner from inside the box.

Ahly dominated every area of the game extending their ball possession to over 60 per cent. Hamdy Fathy missed a couple of chances to double the lead as he was denied by the keeper and the cross bar in quick succession.

The Cairo giants were dealt another injury blow as Sherif had to leave the game and was replaced by Shady Hussein just past the half hour mark.

In the 40th minute Kendouci, who joined Ahly in January, scored his debut goal after racing past a defender at the near post to meet a precise cross from Ali Maaloul with a diving header.

The Red Devils maintained their pressure in the second half and again Maaloul found an unmarked Mohamed Abdel-Moneim in the area but his header missed the target. 

As the points seemed secured, Koller decided to rest some of his players as he introduced Marwan Atteya, Raafat Khalil and Ahmed Nabil Koka to replace Aliou Dieng, Taher Mohamed and Hamdy Fathy respectively.

Khalil enjoyed a dream debut as he tapped the third from inside the box connecting with a low cross from Maaloul.

Ahly will face a tough mission when they face group’s leaders Mamelodi Sundowns on Friday in the 4th round as several players remain in doubt.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

Short link: