Caf Champions League: Al Ahly Mosimane backs El-Shennawy's reaction vs Simba SC

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Al Ahly coach Pitso Mosimane vs Simba SC.
Al Ahly.
The goalkeeper was angry after a late collision with an opponent and the coach has now expressed his opinion of the incident

Al Ahly head coach Pitso Mosimane has backed Mohamed El-Shennawy's argumentative reaction during the Caf Champions League match against Simba SC on Friday.

Al Ahly won 1-0 but El-Shenawy's response after a collision with an opponent in the 87th minute was among the highlights of the game. The goalkeeper consequently received a yellow card as a warning for his reaction.

"His [El-Shennawy] reaction was normal, what would you do if someone punched you in the face. And what he did is common in the African Champions League," Mosimane said in his post-match interview as they concluded the Group A assignments.

"We had a good game against a strong opponent and their goalkeeper saved many chances.

"We are happy to have beaten Simba. We controlled the rhythm of the game despite them coming back in the last 10 minutes of the match.

"The atmosphere in Tanzania when we faced Simba was very difficult. The temperature was very high and there were thousands of fans despite the coronavirus, but that’s football."  

Mohamed Sherif scored to ensure the Red Devils extended the unbeaten home record in the continent's premier club competition to 32 games.

The last time the African champions lost a home tie was in 2016 when they were defeated by ASEC Mimosas of Ivory Coast.

Mosimane also explained why a number of players were given starting roles against the Tanzania giants.

"We gave playing time to many players because of the injuries that the team is suffering and that affected our performance in the second half," he stated.

The former Mamelodi Sundowns coach also shed light on Nasser Maher, who was left out of the matchday squad and reportedly stormed out of the stadium thereafter.

"He just recovered from his shoulder injury and returned and was ready to participate. We are facing severe pressure and we are working to prepare the players for the upcoming period,” said the South African.

Mosimane expressed concern over the seasons' fixtures which include an upcoming Cairo derby against arch-rivals Zamalek SC.

"The seasons are intertwined, and there is no time for the players to rest. Normally we should have a five-week break between each season, even cars need rest for the necessary maintenance," he continued.

"We have an overwhelmed schedule and we have to be ready for the upcoming games, which will see an important derby against Zamalek. The players must have an off-season for five weeks to avoid fatigue and injuries."

In the Champions League, they are likely to be paired against Mamelodi Sundowns, Wydad Casablanca or Esperance Sportive de Tunis in the quarter-finals.

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Simba finished at the top of the group and have made their target going forward known.

According to the club's spokesperson Haji Manara, they initially targeted a semi-final spot but given how they have performed they are confident of going all the way to the final stage of the competition.

Wekundu wa Msimbazi have already touched down in Dar es Salaam where their focus will shift to local games before engaging in the quarters. 

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