Ahly coach Koller plays down effect of Esperance absences ahead of Champions League clash

Ahram Online , Thursday 11 May 2023

Ahly's manager Marcel Koller believes that his side will have a challenging match against Esperance, despite the Tunisian side's absences, as they have a deep and talented squad.



The Cairo giants will face Esperance on Friday at Hamadi Agrebi Stadium in Tunis in the first leg of the Champions League semi-finals, with the second leg will take place one week later in Cairo.

Esperance have been hit with several injuries, with key players such as Libyan winger Hamdou Elhouni, international midfielder Ghailene Chaalali, Algerian forward Riad Benayad, and international Keeper Moez ben Cherifia set to miss the game.

However, Koller stressed that this would not give his team any advantage.

"There are many absences on both sides, but it would not be effective," Koller told the pre-match news conference on Thursday.

"Big teams can cope easily with these circumstances, and all coaches can deal with these situations.

“Esperance are a great team, and all their players are good players, and they can compensate for the injured players."

Koller expects a tough match on Friday, as he believes that the Tunisian side, despite their recent poor form, will perform well during the game.

Esperance have failed to win in their last three matches across all competitions.

"I have watched many matches of Esperance," Koller added.

"They are a resilient team with many experienced players.

“I know well that Esperance produces a different performance in continental level as they are used to playing these important games.

“But my team is ready, and the players will be fully concentrated to seal passage to the final," the Swiss coach concluded.

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