Ahly coach Mohamed Youssef said "unusual circumstances" are to blame for his side's embarrassing 5-1 defeat by Mexico's Monterrey that saw them finish in the penultimate place of the Club World Cup in Morocco.
The Red Devils lost in the fifth-place playoff for the third time in five Club World Cup appearances after being humiliated by Monterrey, who also beat them to the third place in last year's edition in Japan.
Ahly had to do without several key players due to injuries, including talismanic playmaker Mohamed Abou-Treika who is likely to formally announce his retirement this week.
"This is football. In football, everything can happen," Youssef, who steered Ahly to a record-breaking eighth African Champions League title last month despite a lengthy football stoppage in Egypt, told Al-Jazeera Sport in a pitch-side interview.
"Today is a very bad day for us. We are enduring unusual circumstances; there are six or seven players who are out injured and we could not prepare well because of the football stoppage.
"We had to field some players who are not fit enough to play. Physically, we were inferior to Monterrey tonight," he added.
The stunning result is Ahly's worst defeat in the Club World Cup in their five Club World Cup participations.
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