Ahly’s players must put the painful defeat by Orlando Pirates behind them and fully focus on the upcoming African Champions League encounter against Congo’s AC Leopards, rookie coach Mohamed Youssef said on Friday.
South Africa’s Orlando Pirates toyed with Ahly in a match to forget for the title holders, inflicting their worst-ever African defeat in Egypt after claiming a 3-0 victory in the Red Sea resort of El-Gouna last Sunday.
Heartbroken Ahly must pick themselves up and regroup ahead of a crucial tie away to Leopards on 17 August, Youssef, who took over at the club following the departure of Hossam El-Badry in the latter stages of last season, said on the club’s official website.
“I spoke with the players after our game against Orlando and told them they must close that chapter and fully concentrate on the clash against Leopards,” the former Ahly defender said.
“It’s very important that we win, given that we only have one point from two matches. A victory would give us the push we need to reach the Champions League semis.”
Ahly and Cairo rivals Zamalek, Egypt’s representatives in Africa’s elite club competition, are dearly affected by lack of domestic action following the cancellation of the Egyptian Premier League for the second consecutive season.
They looked lethargic in a dull 1-1 Cairo derby draw in their opening game of the Champions League Group A.
Ahly then lost to Orlando Pirates and Zamalek slumped to a 1-0 defeat at Leopards, leaving their chances of booking a last-four berth hanging by a thread.
“The game against Leopards will be tough as our opponents will play in front of their own fans. However, we have the bigger motivation to win as we are defending the title we won last year,” Youssef added.
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