File Photo: Ahly vs Coton Sport. Al-Ahram
The ten-time African champions, Ahly, are suffering in Group B ranking as their chances of reaching the quarterfinals of the Champions League are slim.
They are third in Group B with four points, trailing group leaders Mamelodi Sundowns who have 10 points, and Al-Hilal of Sudan who have nine.
Coton Sport are currently at the bottom of the group without any points.
Ahly claimed only one victory over Coton Sport at home in the past four rounds of the CAF Champions League, losing to Al-Hilal away from home and drawing with Sundowns before losing again to the South African team.
To keep their hopes alive, Ahly must win their next two games against Coton Sport of Cameroon and Al-Hilal while hoping that Al-Hilal will not beat Sundowns in their upcoming match in Sudan.
The Red Devils crew arrived in Cameron on Wednesday to start their preparations for the crucial game against Coton Sport with appearance of most of the team’s key-players.
Koller refuses to throw in the towel
Ahly coach Marcel Koller showed readiness for the game, confirming the players are experienced enough to deal with such games to march on in the CAF Champions League.
“We will do our best to win the game against Coton Sport. We know well the importance of the game between Mamelodi Sundowns and Al-Hilal but we have to concentrate on our game,” Koller told the pre-game press conference.
“Ahly players are expreniced enough to achieve the victory as well as claiming the three points to march on in the championship,” he added.
Injured players return
Ahly welcomed back winger Hussein El-Shahat after recovering from a muscle injury that sidelined him during the big 5-2 loss to Sundowns last week.
Meanwhile, newly signed midfielder Khaled Abdel-Fattah has been cleared fit for Coton Sport game after completing his rehab program to recover from a knee strain.
“Khaled Abdel-Fattah is fit for Coton Sport game after finishing his rehab program to recover from a knee injury that sidlined him during Sundowns game,” Ahly’s doctor Ahmed Abou Abla was quoted as saying on the club’s official website.
Moreover, Ahly’s defender Mohamed Abdel-Moneim returned to trainings after recovering from a muscle problem he suffered from during Sundowns clash.
“Abdel-Moneim underwent a recovery program to be ready for Friday’s game against Coton Sport,” read a statement on the club’s official website.
Coton Sport coach promises to improve image
Coton Sport assistant coach Agbor Ernest, who already lost hope for advancment to the quarterfinals, announced that his team will be playing to improve their image when they face Ahly, insisting that his team is at full strength for the match.
“We will play a serious game as we try to improve our image and represent both our club and our country,” Agbor told Al-Oula Egyptian TV channel.
“It will be a tactical game. Our team is at full strength as we won’t have any absentees. Fans will be allowed to attend the game for free to give the needed support to win," he added.
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