Tuesday Mar 10, 2020. 12:00
Al Ahly defender Ali Maaloul has explained that the team was determined to make amends for last year’s thrashing at the hands of Mamelodi Sundowns when they faced the South African side in this season’s CAF Champions League quarterfinals.
The Egyptian giants were humbled 5-1 on aggregate over two legs against the Brazilians last year and many Red Devils fans were wary of coming up against the same side this time around.
However, Ahly triumphed 2-0 on home soil in the first leg of their quarterfinal late last month and secured progression with a 1-1 draw in Tshwane this past weekend, taking the tie 3-1 overall to set up a semifinal meeting with Morocco’s Wydad Casablanca.
“The team insisted we do our best and make amends for last season’s defeat as we promised the fans,” Maaloul told Ahly’s official website, as quoted by Ahram Online.
“Ahly’s solid character and the team’s spirit appeared strongly against Sundowns, which was one of the main factors that helped in dominating at home and away.
“Sundowns is one of the top teams in Africa, as they played great games during the tournament, in addition to having the same coach for many years which reflects the stability of the team. Despite this, Ahly’s character shines in such difficult situations.”
Maaloul was a key man in the tie, scoring both of Ahly’s goals in their home leg and forcing own goal for a key away strike in the return game. He believes balancing domestic and continental demands with be a challenge for the remainder of the season.
“Ahly have the suitable time to prepare for Wydad’s game, which will be very tough for both sides,” he explained, before adding:
“We have various targets in the current season; the most important is to win the domestic league without losing any game and achieve a new record to be written in history in the name of this generation.”