Preview: Ittihad must beat Ahly in domestic league clash to play in Africa

Ahram Online , Tuesday 7 May 2024

Ahly and Ittihad of Alexandria lock horns tomorrow in a highly anticipated Egyptian Premier League clash, with a crucial African berth hanging in the balance.

File photo: Ahly vs. Ittihad of Alexandria


Both teams are vying for continental qualification spots, transforming the match into a fierce battle for a place in next season's African Champions League or Confederation Cup.

Ahly, currently placed tenth with 27 points from 13 matches, welcomes the challenge despite facing injury concerns. Key player Mohamed El Shenawy returns after a calf muscle issue but Koller chose to rest him for the game to avert a recurrence of his injury, while Ahmed Abdel Qader remains sidelined.

Ittihad, positioned fifth with 32 points, is determined to maintain its strong push for a Confederation Cup spot. A win or a draw against Ahly would see them level on points with El Masry, whom they recently defeated.

Ahly, however, is juggling continental commitments with the crucial Champions League final against Esperance of Tunisia scheduled for 18th and 25th May.

Manager Marcel Koller has included Mohamed Magdy Afsha and Karim Fouad in the squad, signalling his intent to navigate both domestic and continental challenges.

The return of defender Rami Rabia for Ahly after a suspension further adds intrigue to the encounter.

It's worth noting that Koller opted to rest key players Ali Maaloul and Percy Tau, who did not join the team's squad for the match against Ittihad of Alexandria. This decision suggests a strategic approach by the manager, potentially prioritizing the upcoming Champions League final while still aiming for a strong showing in the domestic league.

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