Al-Ahly general manager Mohamed Youssef said they managed to convince their players to forget the absence of their fans inside Al Salam Stadium ahead of the 2-0 win over ES Setif.
Attendance was limited to Al-Ahly members for security reasons.
But without the backing of their fervent supporters, the record African champions managed to upstage their Algerian opponents, thanks to first half goals from Walid Soliman and Islam Mohareb.
“Fans are really important for Al Ahly but we reminded the players of what happened in 2012 and 2013 when we played without fans,” Youssef was quoted as saying by Kingfut.
“We won both African competitions at that time and we used to play in the El Gouna stadium in the afternoon without supporters, and we asked them (the players) to forget about everything and concentrate on winning.”
Al-Ahly won the back-to-back Champions League titles in 2012 and 2013 playing their matches behind closed doors.
They have also been playing local matches before a limited number of fans over the years due to security concerns.