Al Ahly will hope for revenge when they welcome Orlando Pirates for their CAF Confederations Cup semifinal second leg clash at Suez Stadium in Cairo on Sunday night.
Kick-off is at 8:30pm.
Although the match could be played behind closed doors, the Red Devils will hope to use home ground advantage as they’ll be targeting to avenge their 1-0 defeat in South Africa last weekend in the first leg.
The defending champions are undoubtedly a different side when playing at home, but the possibility of playing in front of empty stands could be a disappointing factor as their supporters will not get an opportunity to intimidate their visitors.
Coach Fathi Mabrouk will have to rally behind his charges to stand a good chance of defending their Confed Cup crown and will also expect his players to show a fighting spirit they lacked in South Africa.
Mabrouk will bank on the experience of his seasoned campaigners such as goalkeeper Sherif Ekrami, Moemen Zakareya and John Antwi to ensure Eric Tinkler’s men go home empty handed.
Shifting focus to the visitors, they’re in high spirits after winning at home and will hope to win away for the second time in a row.
Despite going to Egypt with a crippled squad, missing the likes of skipper Oupa Manyisa, defenders Siyabonga Sangweni and HappyJele, coach Tinkler will expect his Equatorial Guinea goalkeeper Felipe Ovono to display a five star performance on the night.
Besides Ovono, the experience of defender and captain Rooi Mahamutsa, midfielder Issa Sarr and the in-form striker Thamsanqa Gabuza will be an added advantage as he hopes to lead his team to the final.
Speaking after their loss at Orlando Stadium last week, Mabrouk said they’re a team of champions and they’ll have to convert their chances at home.
“Al Ahly are a team of champions and in the return leg we will make sure we use the opportunities better,” said Mabrouk.
“We played a good game and the only difference for us was how we were missing the easy opportunities, but this is football and we will learn from our mistakes.”
However, speaking ahead of their departure to the North African country, Mahamutsa said they are going to Egypt as underdogs.
“We understand that we head into Egypt as underdogs. From our experiences in the 2013 Champions League Final we know their fans have a strong presence and create a hostile environment at the stadium,” said Mahamutsa.
“However, look whether the stadium is empty or full it doesn’t matter to us, we are focused on our game plan and we will fight to make it into the final.”