Hany Zada, a member of the Zamalek board, spoke to ON Sport...
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Al-Ahly to face Coton Sport in CAF semi-finals after draw with Pirates
Mohamed Youssef’s choice of players:
Al-Ahly’s Starting XI: Sherif Ekramy – Ahmed Fathi – Sherif Abdel-Fadil – Mohamed Naguib – Ahmed Shedid – Shehab El-Din Ahmed – Rami Rabia – Abdullah El-Said – Walid Soliman – Abou-Treika – Abdel-Zaher
Mahmoud Trezeguet and Sayed Moawad were both suspended prior to this match for receiving second yellow cards.
Youssef also preferred not to play with Wael Gomaa and Hossam Ashour as he was cautious of them being suspended in the case they were booked in this match and therefore would’ve been unable to play in the semi-finals.
Al-Ahly went into the match with the intention of avenging their 3-0 loss in El-Gouna Stadium last month.
Orlando Pirates began the match with pressure, seeking to score an early goal to keep their hopes of qualifying to the semi-finals alive – hoping that Zamalek would also do them a favour and beat or at least draw AC Léopards.
Ahmed Abdel-Zaher’s header went over the post following Ahmed Shedid’s cross on the left side. The Pirates tried to play through the wings afterwards as they were unable to get past Al-Ahly’s midfield.
One player from the Pirates was dangerous, his free-kick attempt went just over the post and the other shot from a cross just glanced outside the left post.
Saad Samir came in for Ahmed Fathi in the defense, Dominique replaced Abdel-Zaher and Manga came on for Abou-Treika.
Al-Ahly’s best chance was by Walid Soliman. Shehab passed him a long ball and his shot was inches away from their redemption. Pirates had serious attempts on the goal, however Sherif Ekramy was wide awake, especially when he saved Daine Klate’s amazing header inside the box.
Ahly got what they wanted: Top of Group A and avoided Espérance de Tunis… for the time being!
The already eliminated Zamalek thrashed AC Léopards 4-1 following goals scored by Ahmed Gaafar (x2), Mohamed Ibrahim and Shikabala, despite Léopards’ Ndey opening the scoring.
At the end of this 8th and final round, here are Group A’s standings:
- Al-Ahly – 11 Points
- Orlando Pirates – 8 Points
- Al Zamalek – 7 Points
- AC Léopards – 7 Points
Al-Ahly and Orlando Pirates qualify to the semi-finals of the CAF Champions League where the African champions will face Coton Sport and the Pirates will face Espérance de Tunis.
1st Leg: 5/6 October, 2nd Leg: 18/20 October