Caf Champions League: Defeating Esperance reflects Al Ahly’s character – Abdelhafiz


Triumph over Esperance in Saturday’s Caf Champions League second leg semi-final reflects the Red Devils’ "character", according to Al Ahly’s director of football Sayed Abdelhafiz.

Goals from Ali Maaloul, Mohamed Sherif and Hussein El Shahat were enough for the Egyptian Premier League side to see off the Tunisian giants 3-0 in Cairo.

Mohamed Sherif’s 67th-minute strike had handed Pitso Mosimane’s side a 1-0  first-leg advantage at Stade Olympique de Rades.

In his post-match assessment, Abdelhafiz was impressed with Al Ahly’s performance, disclosing that the club’s ambition is to emerge as African champions for the tenth time.

“The most important thing is to reach the final. We defeated the champions of 2018 Caf Champions League with a big result, which reflects Al Ahly’s character,” he told the club’s website.

“Before the game, some people were wondering why we are worried despite having the lead, but you always have to be conservative when you face a team like Esperance.

“Esperance lost the first leg in Tunisia, so it was normal for them to attack in the return leg. But Al Ahly players and the coaching staff are capable of dealing with these games.

“My discussion with the referees was all about implementing the law. The penalty was clear, and everyone saw it.

“You must be prepared physically and mentally. Also, we must focus on the small details to maintain our performance.

“We can depend on any player at any time. Several players participated in today’s game and that is why everyone must be ready.

“Our eyes are set on the final, but we still have four games to play in the Egyptian Premier League.

“We want to win the African title, but we still have many important matches in the league first.”

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Unbeaten in their last seven games in all competitions, Al Ahly host Pyramids in a league game on July 1.

Next, they square up against Smouha, Al Mokawloon, and Misr Lel Makasa before locking horns with Amakhosi on July 17 at the Stade Mohammed V, Casablanca.

In the Egyptian Premier League, Mosimane’s men occupy the third spot after garnering 41 points from 19 outings so far, a massive 17 points behind leaders and local rivals Zamalek, but with seven games in hand.