Egypt's Ahly new head coach Martin Lasarte
Thursday Apr 04, 2019. 12:00
Al Ahly coach Martin Lasarte has admitted that he took the risk of resting players during his team’s midweek Egyptian Premier League match in order to have fresh legs for their clash with Mamelodi Sundowns.
The Red Devils won 2-0 away to Al Ittihad in a domestic clash on Tuesday night to move to the top of the standings for the first time this season.
Lasarte left several key men on the bench in a calculated move, and his risk paid off as stoppage-time goals from Ali Maaloul and substitute Saleh Gomaa secured victory.
The match against Ittihad arrived in between two major games for the Cairo giants, who were held 0-0 by Zamalek in last weekend’s derby and will face Sundowns in Pretoria in the first leg of their CAF Champions League quarterfinal on Saturday.
"The match was difficult because of the defensive strategy deployed by our opponent. We made some faults in the first half, but we restored the balance after the break," Uruguayan Lasarte explained.
"The victory is very important. I decided to give some players a rest against Ittihad and that was risky as I was obliged to make many changes in the squad. Finally, I must get the most benefit of the big squad that we have.
"We faced Zamalek few days ago and now we are preparing for facing Sundowns in a difficult match in the Champions League, so rotation was a must.”
Ahly will take on the Brazilians at the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Saturday afternoon, with the return game set for April 13 at the Suez Army Stadium.