Koller calls for 'more effort' in second leg against Ravens

Koller calls for 'more effort' in second leg against Ravens
Marcel Koller, coach of Al Ahly during the CAF Champions League 2023/24 semifinals Al Ahly training session held at Al Ahly Sporting Club in Cairo, Egypt on 24 April 2024 ©Weam MostafaBackpagePix

by Staff Reporter

Thursday Apr 25, 2024. 14:03

Al Ahly head coach Marcel Koller wants a big effort from his team when they host TP Mazembe in the second leg of the CAF Champions League semi-finals at the Cairo International Stadium on Friday, April 26.

Kick-off is at 9pm CAT (SA, GMT+2)

The Red Eagles held the Ravens to a goalless draw in sweltering conditions at the Stade TP Mazembe in the first leg on April 20 and will be confident of getting the job done on home soil.

Koller’s side have yet to concede at home in the competition this season, while scoring 10 goals in the process and they’ve now kept seven consecutive clean sheets since the 1-1 draw with Young Africans in Dar-es-Salaam on 12 December 2023.

Wessam Abou Alia and Kahraba had the best chances for the visitors in Lubumbashi, but Mostafa Shobeir was also required to keep TP Mazembe at bay on numerous occasions as his goal came under threat in the closing stages.

Koller paid tribute to the efforts of Shobeir and is aware that more is needed if the record 11-time African champions want to have the chance of defending their title in the final.

“It was a tough match between two strong teams and each team had its chances to score but the tie will be decided at home in the second leg. We will put more effort to achieve victory in the return match and secure our place in the final,” the Swiss tactician said in the post-match press conference.

“The goalkeeper’s primary job is to prevent conceding any goals, and the level of performance by Mostafa Shobeir during the first leg was fantastic.”

The DR Congo giants haven’t been as good on their continental travels compared to their home form. They are unbeaten in six games in Lubumbashi, but have only won twice on the road this term.

Goals have been a problem as they only managed to score against Nyasa Big Bullets and Petro de Luanda, while failing to get on the scoresheet in three successive trips to Pyramids, Nouadhibou and Mamelodi Sundowns.

Lamine N’Diaye’s side need to solve that dilemma if they have any hope of reaching the final for the first time since 2015 when they lifted the coveted trophy.

“We have leaders who have a lot of ambition. Going three years without a Champions League final is an anomaly for a club like Mazembe,” N’Diaye told CAFOnline.

“I would also say that the players’ burst of pride was a key factor this year. TP Mazembe is a big club with a track record that goes beyond the borders of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“The players were tired of seeing other clubs dominate the continent. They rolled up their sleeves and the results are now there.”

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