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Martin Jol: Defeat against Zesco is not the end

Martin Jol

Photo: Al Ahly official website

Al Ahly manager Martin Jol praised Zesco United while insisting that his side’s loss to the Zambian champions “isn’t the end of the club’s journey”.

The eight-time African champions suffered a 3-2 shock defeat to Zesco United of Zambia in their first match of the CAF Champions League group stage on Saturday.

“We played against a tough and organised opponent, and to lose the first the match in the group stage is bad, but we must bounce back,” the Dutch manager revealed in the post-match press conference.

“Things were not balanced in the first half, but we got ourselves back into the game in the second half,” the 60-year-old added.

Al Ahly scored an equaliser only three minutes after Zesco opened the scoring in the first half, which ended in a 1-1 draw. Ten minutes into the second half, the hosts were already leading 3-1 before John Antwi scored his second of the game to reduce the deficit to 3-2.

“Al Ahly players used to play at night during Ramadan as they are fasting and that affected our performance today,” said the former Tottenham Hotspur manager, explaining that playing during the day at Zambia was one of the reasons behind his side’s disappointing performance.

The Red Devils’ loss to Zesco came less than a week after their 3-2 defeat to Al Masry in the Egyptian Premier League.

“We need to recover quickly, as we have an important match against Ismaily in the league and we have other challenges in the African Champions League. Losing isn’t the end of the journey,” Jol concluded.

Al Ahly are scheduled to face Ismaily on June 24 in the league. The Red Castle top the standings on 71 points, five ahead of rivals Zamalek, with three games left in the league.

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