Al Ahly vs Berekum Chelsea: Clash of the Group leaders
Match: Al Ahly SC vs Berekum Chelsea
Competition: CAF Champions League – Group Stage – B
Venue: Military College Stadium, Cairo, Egypt
Time: Saturday, August 4th 2012; 22:00 Egypt’s Local time [GMT +2]
TV Listing: Al Jazeera Sport +9
Al Ahly and Berekum Chelsea, the top two teams of the group, will go head-to-head in the 3rd game of Group B in the CAF Champions League. Al Ahly will be looking to maintain their perfect record after registering two wins against TP Mazembe and Zamalek respectively. On the other hand, surprise Ghanaian package Berekum Chelsea are headed to this match with their heads held high looking for their 7th point after beating Ahly’s Cairo rivals Zamalek and holding TP Mazembe last month. A win for Berekum Chelsea would keep the group very much alive. Both teams have a small advantage in playing Saturday night by already knowing the result of the other Group B match with TP Mazembe and Zamalek SC playing earlier the same day.
Al Ahly SC
Al Ahly will go into tomorrow’s match missing five of their players who are taking part in the London 2012 Olympics: the attacking duo of Emad Meteb and Mohamed Abou Trieka, along with Shehab El-Din Ahmed, Saad Samir, and Ahmed Fathi, who is already suspended for the match for his collection of yellow cards. Hossam El Badry, who’s recently returned as Al Ahly’s manager, will look to shuffle his pack to continue his perfect start with the club. El Badry will probably employ Ahmed Sedik in the right-back position to fill in for the suspended Ahmed Fathi. Reports coming from the Ahly camp almost assures Abdallah El Saeed and Mohamed Nagy ‘Gedo’ will make the starting 11 on the expense of Abou Trieka and Meteb respectively. El Badry has also recalled the Mauritanian-Senegalese striker Dominique Da Silva after his suspension has finished. He has also recalled El-Sayed Hamdy as a backup striker and Ahmed Adel Abdel-Moniem for the second goalkeeping position. In addition to missing key players, Al Ahly will arguably miss its most important asset of success, their ultras, since this match will also be played without fans for security reasons.
Possible Starting XI: Sherif Ekramy; Sayed Moawad, Mohamed Naguib, Sherif Abdel-Fadil, Ahmed Sedik; Hossam Ashour, Hossam Ghaly; Walid Soliman, Abdallah El Saeed, Mohamed Barakat; Mohamed Nagy Gedo.
Berekum Chelsea are enjoying every moment of their first ever CAF Champions League campaign. Hans van der Pluijm, the Dutch manager of the team will not look to make any changes to his side which drew 2-2 with TP Mazembe, especially since his team isn’t suffering from suspensions or injuries. He’ll also look for a special performance from his key player, and top scorer of the CAF Champions League with 11 goals, Emmanuel Clottey, to help topple Al-Ahly’s defense.
Possible Starting XI: Emset Sowah; Eric Agyemang, Ahmed Adams, Richard Boateng, Edward Kpodo; Jackson Owusu, Abdul-Basit Mohamed, Gladson Awako, S. Asante, Jordan Opuku; Emannuel Clottey.
Abdullah El Saeed (Al Ahly SC)
Abdullah will have a huge task on Saturday – filling in Abou Trieka’s boots is a very hard task to ask any player. He’ll be the center of all plays, dictating the tempo, providing assists, and using his power to shoot from outside the box. If Abdullah has a good game then Al Ahly fans can expect a good result from their team.
Emmanuel Clottey (Berekum Chelsea)
He is the center of all the success for his club this campaign, scoring 11 goals so far, including a hat-trick against Zamalek in the opening game of the group stage, and a brace against TP Mazembe in the second one. He can cause Al Ahly’s defenses all sorts of trouble and will need to be marked throughout the match to lessen his threat. Clottey has been linked with a move to every other team in Group B, and Hossam El Badry has confirmed Ahly’s interest, “Yes we are watching Clottey for a while now but we decided not to talk to Chelsea until we finish our two games against them.”
Prediction: Al Ahly 2-1 Berekum Chelsea
Al Ahly will go for the win from the start of the game to ensure being on the top of the group. However, they will need to watch out for Chelsea’s counter attacks, which proved to be a huge asset in their successful campaign so far. The midfield battle will prove to be the most important one and Al Ahly will need to control it to ensure having a good game.
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