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Ahly in Johannesburg for Pirates clash

Ahead of the Orlando Pirates game Sunday, Ahly delegation lands in South Africa after a long trip that began with a fracas between some fans and players at Cairo Airport

Ahram Online, Thursday 19 Sep 2013
Ahly
Ahly's Ahmed Fathi (Photo: Al-Ahram)
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The Egyptian Ahly delegation landed in Johannesburg early Thursday to play their last round in the group stage of the CAF Champions League Sunday against South Africa's Orlando Pirates.

The team's training session Thursday afternoon will be attended by dozens of their supporters who accompanied the team overseas.

Back in Cairo Airport Wednesday night, however, rising tensions which have complicated the relationship between Ahly and their hardcore supporters Ultras Ahlawy 007 reached an unprecedented peak. 

Ultras leader Edrisso and the team's midfielder, Ahmed Fathi, engaged in a scuffle at the airport before the delegation's departure. Officials promptly intervened and calmed the situation.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Ultras expressed anger at players during a training session as they felt the latter had "neglected their cheering calls," according to a statement on the Ultras official Facebook page Wednesday.

The tension between the fans and some Ahly players date to last year's Egypt Super Cup game. The fans, still mourning their friends who had died in the February 2012 violence that erupted in Port Said Stadium, were against holding the game before investigations were concluded and the culprits punished. The match was nonetheless played with Ahly's triumph over ENPPI.

The Red Devils, who top Group A of the CAF Champions League with 10 points from five games, have secured their progress with one match to spare after defeating arch-rivals Zamalek 4-2.

Ahly are three points clear of second-placed Pirates, who have a chance to emerge as group leaders if they beat the Cairo giants at home.

Pirates thrashed Ahly 3-0 in the second match day two months ago in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Al-Gouna.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports)

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