Al Ahly favourites to seal semifinal spot

Al Ahly favourites to seal semifinal spot
Walied Azarou of Al Ahly

by Graeme Jackson

Thursday Sep 20, 2018. 12:29

Al Ahly will start as favourites to seal a semifinal spot in the 2018 CAF Champions League when they host Horoya at Al-Salam Stadium in Cairo on Saturday, September 22, kick-off at 21h00 CAT.

The teams’ quarterfinal tie is evenly balanced after they played out a goalless draw in the first leg at the 28 September Stadium in Conakry, Guinea, last Friday.

The Egyptian heavyweights were the better team in the clash, but failed to capitalise on scoring chances for the likes of Salah Mohsen and Walid Azaro.

Nonetheless, with home advantage the Red Devils will feel confident that they can get the better of their Guinean opponents – though they must beware the potency of away goals in the tie.

“We didn’t take advantage of all the opportunities we had. A draw is an acceptable result but I was hoping for a better result,” Ahly coach Patrice Carteron explained in the wake of the 0-0 stalemate.

“The game could’ve been different if we took advantage of our opportunities.

“I don’t recall any opportunities for Horoya. The pitch was really bad and we’ll start preparing for the second leg from now. We’ll try to take advantage of the opportunities we get.”

The Frenchman then called for massive support in Cairo: “We need you [supporters] in the second leg to qualify for the next round.

“CAF Champions League games are decided depending on the support of the fans and not technical aspects.”

Horoya coach Victor Zvunka is optimistic in regards to his team’s chances of advancing: “I do not think we have fallen into their [Al Ahly’s] trap,” he said after the game in Conakry.

“I believe that this team will naturally manage to open the doors. It's a team that has enough experience to play well grouped.”

He added, “We will do a lot to analyse the match this week and do everything to get the qualification.”

The match in Cairo will be handled by Gambian referee Bakary Gassama. The winners of the tie will advance into the semifinals and face either ES Setif (Algeria) or Wydad Casablanca (Morocco) next month.

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