Ahly prepare for a tough test against Esperance in CL semis: Coach Koller

Ahmed Abd El Rasoul , Sunday 30 Apr 2023

Ahly coach Marcel Koller believes that his team will be facing a very difficult confrontation against Tunisia's Esperance in the African Champions League semifinals, acknowledging that Saturday’s game against Morocco's Raja was a hard one.



The Cairo giants secured their spot in the semifinals of the African Champions League for the fourth consecutive year, after drawing 0-0 with Morocco's Raja in Casablanca on Saturday.

“The game was very difficult especially as the hosts prepared well for the match and also they had a big desire to win and reach the semis,” the 62-year-old Swiss coach said in the press conference after the match.

“We were not the better side in the first half, we lost the ball on different occasions and we were lucky that they wasted a penalty.”

“I asked the players during the break to be calm and cautious in their passes to decrease stress and so we were better in the second half and we tried to attack but we were not lucky to score,” the Ahly coach added.

Ahly owed their qualification to their 2-0 home win last week in Cairo, to cement their superiority over their North African rivals in recent years.

Ahly also eliminated Raja from last season's quarterfinals and beat them to the 2022 African Super Cup title.

The 10-time African Champions, Ahly will now face Tunisia's Esperance in what Koller expects to be a very tough semifinal confrontation.

“I congratulated my players for the qualification. We will forget about Raja game to prepare strongly for the Super Cup game against Zamalek,” Koller explained.

Since he took charge of Ahly, Koller said, the team has faced a difficult game every three days, whether in the domestic league or in the Champions League.

“The semifinal confrontation against Eseperance will be very difficult and we must prepare well as our main target is to reach the final. Sure our opponent has the same desire and I expect a balanced game between both teams,” the coach concluded.

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