Ahly coach Manuel Jose has warned his side not to underestimate Zambia’s ZESCO United when both sides meet in Cairo in the second leg of the African Champions League round of 16.
The Red Devils played out a dull goalless draw with ZESCO in the first leg on Saturday, a result that makes them firm favourites to reach the competition’s group stage.
“We will face a tough mission when we play ZESCO in Cairo,” Portuguese tactician Jose, who led Ahly to four of their six Champions League accolades, said on the club’s official website on Sunday.
“ZESCO have many talented players who are ambitious. They are eager to play in the Champions League group stage.”
Chances were few and far between in a dour affair, which was played on a muddy pitch in Ndola city.
ZESCO mounted late pressure and wasted two goal-scoring opportunities in stoppage time as Ahly held firm.
“We are ready to reach the group stage through the ZESCO path. We studied them well and we know how they play,” Jose added.
“ZESCO are physically strong and they rely on long balls which cause troubles to us.”
Ahly are seeking to win a record-extending seventh Champions League title. Their last triumph was in 2008 when they beat Cameroon’s Coton Sport in the final.