Ahly in do or die decider against Coton Sport

Ahly in do or die decider against Coton Sport
06 July 2017 09:55

It’s a “do or die” mission for Egyptian champions, Al Ahly, when they take on their Cameroonian counterparts, Coton Sport on Saturday, as Group D reaches its climax. 

Victory in Alexandria will see record eight-time winners Ahly through to the quarter finals, while any other result will see the Red Devils bid farewell to the competition they last won in 2013.

The Cairo giants held Group D leaders, Zanaco of Zambia, to a goalless draw last Saturday in Lusaka to raise their tally to eight points, three shy of the former. But they were soon demoted to the third place few hours after the game, after Wydad Athletic Club of Morocco defeated Coton Sport 2-0 away in Garoua to go nine points after five matches.

Coton, meanwhile are without a point at the group stage, after losing all five games.

Two goals inside the first 14 minutes were all Ahly needed when they clashed with Coton last May in Garoua. Nigerian-import Oluwafemi "Junior" Ajayi broke the deadlock after 12 minutes, and Moamen Zakaria sealed victory two minutes later.

Ahly coach Hossam El Badry has praised his team after their performance in the penultimate fixture in Lusaka last weekend, holding their host to remain in contention. 

“My boys did all what they were asked to do. We were unlucky to score on several occasions. A victory against Zanaco would have seen us through to the next round. Now we have to shift our attention to the Coton Sport game. I'm positive we will win and qualify,” the Ahly trainer told CAFOnline.com after the game.

El Badry, who led Ahly to African glory in 2012, started preparing for the all-important encounter immediately. The 57-year old rested key players when already crowned champions Ahly held Al Masry in a penultimate match of the Egyptian Premier League season last Tuesday which ended one-all, as the Red Devils maintained their unbeaten run on the domestic front.

“I don't like to talk about the domestic games. We have already won the league, and our focus remains the CAF Champions League", added El Badry.

Despite Coton’s poor run in the premier continental club championship this term, the Ahly trainer has cautioned his side against underrating the current Cameroonian champions in the decisive encounter. 

“I urged my players not to underestimate Coton Sport. They have nothing to lose and it's not going to be a walkover. We have to remain focused and make use of our chances to put a sword to the game as early as possible ", he concluded.

The Red Devils will be backing on their die hard supporters, who are expected to throng the 85,000-seater capacity Borg El Arab Stadium, near the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, despite the fact that the attendance will be limited to only 15000 for security reasons.

The match is scheduled for 21H00 local time (19H00 GMT), with Wydad and Zanaco locking horns in Casablanca in a simultaneous kickoff.  

Group winners and runners up qualify to quarter finals, scheduled next September.

Fixtures
Group A
07.07.2017 Sousse Etoile du Sahel (Tunisia) vs El Merreikh (Sudan)
07.07.2017 Omdurman El Hilal (Sudan) vs Ferroviario da Beira (Mozambique)

Group B
09.07.2017 Cairo Zamalek (Egypt) vs Ahly Tripoli (Libya)
09.07.2017 Algiers USM Alger (Algeria) vs Caps United (Zimbabwe)

Group C
09.07.2017 Pretoria Mamelodi Sundowns (South Africa) vs AS Vita (DR Congo)
09.07.2017 Tunis Esperance (Tunisia) vs Saint George (Ethiopia)

Group D 
08.07.2017 Alexandria Al Ahly (Egypt) vs Coton Sport (Cameroon)
08.07.2017 Casablanca Wydad Athletic club (Morocco) vs Zanaco (Zambia)


Fixtures and Results

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