Ahly, licking their wounds following a humiliating 5-0 African Champions League defeat, are seeking some solace in the Egyptian Premier League as they meet Maqassa on Wednesday.
The Red Devils suffered their worst ever defeat in an African competition after being embarrassed in Pretoria as South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns put one foot in the Champions League semis.
Barring a miraculous comeback in Saturday’s second leg, Ahly, who lost in the final of the previous two Champions League editions, will exit the prestigious competition that they last won in 2013.
That will leave them with only two domestic titles to fight for, including the league where they are locked in a tight battle with bitter Cairo rivals Zamalek.
With only two points separating them from leaders Zamalek, Ahly are aware they can ill-afford to drop any points at this crucial stage of the season.
They will move top, at least temporarily, should they beat Maqassa on Wednesday. Zamalek meet Masry one day later.
“I’m responsible for the result against Sundowns and I’m determined to change that situation as soon as possible,” Ahly coach Martin Lasarte said on the club’s official website.
“All of us, including me and the players, will do our best to make up for this cruel defeat,” the Uruguayan added.
Maqassa, who lie fifth in the table with 42 points from 26 matches, drew three of their past five games, winning twice.
Lasarte opted to leave Marwan Mohsen and playmaker Nasser Maher out of Ahly’s squad for the game. Key left-back Ali Maaloul and Angolan winger Geraldo are also out due to automatic suspension.
Ahly comfortably won the reverse league fixture 3-0 in January.
Source Abram Online