Friday Apr 28, 2023. 13:19
Raja Casablanca will square off with Al Ahly in a CAF Champions League quarter-final second-leg match at the Stade Mohamed V on Saturday.
Kick-off is at 9:00 pm CAT.
The Moroccan giants are trailing 2-0 on aggregate having suffered a defeat to Al Ahly in the first-leg encounter on April 22 as Raja’s nine-match unbeaten run in the Champions League came to an end.
However, Raja are enjoying a 10-match unbeaten run at home in regulation time in Africa’s most prestigious club tournament having recorded eight victories and two draws including one against Al Ahly.
“Now this game was only the first half. We are going to get our chance and we will count on our supporters to push us forward,” Raja head coach Mondher Kebaier said after the first-leg clash.
“We are still alive and we still believe in qualifying, I know the supporters and their ability to push the players to transcend themselves. They are also aware of the issue. We will have to manage our match and impose our rhythm.
“We will also need a reaction of pride and self-esteem. Raja is a proud team, which always has its head held high. It is in this state of mind that we will have to lead the return leg, to succeed in a reaction to this defeat.”
Meanwhile, Al Ahly proved too strong for Raja at home in the first-leg clash as they extended their unbeaten run in the Champions League to three matches.
The Egyptian football powerhouse defeated Cameroon champions Coton Sport in their last away game in the continental tournament and the win ended Al Ahly’s two-match winless run on the road.
“The match was tough. Raja started the game better and we struggled to get into the game,” Al Ahly head coach Marcel Koller said after the first-leg encounter.
“The team gradually improved until we were able to fully control the game, create chances, and then we scored and came out of the first half leading by one goal. In the second half, we were better and missed more chances, we could have scored more.
“Overall, I am happy to have scored two goals and kept a clean sheet. We know the difficulty of the return-leg match. The task is not over yet and we face a big challenge,” he added.
“Today’s result gives us an advantage, but things will be tough in Morocco and we should not take the task lightly. For me, I will play as if we are tied 0-0.”
Al Ahly trio of Akram Tawfiq, Karim Fouad and Amr Al-Souliya are all expected to miss the game against Raja due to their respective injuries.
However, Raja and Al Ahly both have no suspension worries coming into their highly-anticipated match in Casablanca.
Raja and Al Ahly have met six times in the Champions League since 2005.
Al Ahly are undefeated having recorded four wins and two draws against Raja.