Tuesday,12 December, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1165, (19 - 25 September 2013)
Tuesday,12 December, 2017
Issue 1165, (19 - 25 September 2013)

Ahram Weekly

Red daredevils

Ahli are close to sealing a semi-final berth in the African Champions League, reports Abeer Anwar

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Al-Ahram Weekly

Ahli crushed arch-rivals Zamalek 4-2 on Sunday to entertain their fans at Gouna Red Sea stadium in the penultimate Group A game of the 2013 Orange CAF Champions League.
 Ahli entered the game determined to reach the semi finals to continue their title defending campaign.
With one game left, Ahli need just one more point to make sure of their place in the last four. Ahli top their group with 10 points, three more than Congolese AC Leopards and Orlando Pirates of South Africa with seven each while Zamalek come last with four points.
In the final game of the group, Ahli will play Pirates in South Africa while Zamalek host Leopards.
Ahli are on the verge of joining Tunisian club Esperance and Cameroon’s Coton Sport in this year’s CAF African Champions League semi-finals following crucial group results at the weekend.
Although Ahli played behind closed doors after they were fined $30,000 by the CAF for their fans’ misbehavior two weeks ago in an African encounter, Ahli players were determined to win. They were self-confident and this was their key to success. It was Zamalek who took the lead after just four minutes through Omar Gaber but Ahli’s Walid Suleiman answered quickly with an equaliser just five minutes later. Ahmed Abdul Zaher added a second before the closure of the first half.
After the break, Ahli’s superstar striker, Mohamed Abu Treika added a third for his team and setting a new record by equalising Ahli’s legendary footballer, Mokhtar Al-Tetsh by scoring 13 times against arch-rivals Zamalek.
Ahmed Fathi scored the fourth after 71 minutes. Zamalek did get a second goal through Ahmed Hassan with eight minutes remaining but Ahli held on for the 4-2 victory.
According to history, Zamalek has not beaten Ahli since the 1988-1989 season when Zamalek won Ahli 2-1.
Also in Group A, AC Leopards revived their African Champions League hopes with a 1-0 victory over Orlando Pirates .  
On the other hand, Group B leaders Esperance beat Angola’s Recreativo Libolo 3-2 to progress as group winners. Coton Sport took second place, drawing 0-0 with Sewe San Pedro in Ivory Coast. They also go through.
The eight contenders are chasing a $1.5m first prize and a place in the 2013 FIFA Club World Cup, hosted by Morocco.
New Ahli manager Mohamed Youssef was joyous. “We entered the game with one aim in mind: to book a semi final spot. Ahli and Zamalek games have a special taste and are not easy ones as both teams know everything about each other. Ahli enters every game with one goal which is to win, and that’s what played for. Maximum points was our aim so that we guarantee our semi final spot before leaving to South Africa to face Orlando Pirates in the final group match day.”  Youssef added that Zamalek is a big team that he respects. “We have strong relations with their staff and players but whoever wants to win the title has to win all their games regardless of their opponents.”
 Zamalek manager Helmi Toulan admitted  that his team is facing a tough situation and that the players made a number of mistakes as the midfield lacked a lot of players.    
 “Zamalek players were reckless in their bid to win,” said Taha Basri, ex-Zamalek player and coach of Enppi. “The players lacked the incentive to win and they were not well-organised.”
Mohamed Wahba, Ismaili’s coach, explained, “Ahli players were cooler and it was evident when Zamalek started by scoring. This is attributed to their professionalism and experience and this is why they were able to finish the match in their favour. They know how to control their temper while Zamalek players lost control after Ahli’s second goal although they still had a chance to win and lost a number of real chances.”
Shawki Gharieb, Samouha’s coach, attributed Zamalek’s loss to the instability the club is passing through especially at the financial level as most of the players have not received their money while Ahli on the other hand is very stable and settled.”

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