Last season losing finalists and record champions Al Ahly of Egypt will try to confirm their mini league spot when they visit Ethiopia’s debutants Jimma Aba Jifaar this Sunday as the 2018/2019 Total CAF Champions League first round reaches its second leg stage.
On the back of their 2-0 win last weekend in Alexandria, giants Ahly looks confident of a place in the group stage draw, scheduled on 28 December. Nasser Maher and Marawan Mohsen scored in the first half to give The Red Devils the win at the Alexandria based Borg El Arab stadium, and Ahly players missed a huge number of scoring opportunities that could have made the return leg a mere formality.
“It’s going to be a tough game’, Ahly’s interim coach Mohamed Youssef told Cafonline.com. “We are looking forward to getting a result that cements our place in the group stage. We are just up in the first half of the game and the second half will take place in Addis Ababa”.
Following the 4-3 aggregate defeat to Tunisia’s Esperance in last season’s final, French coach Patrice Carteron was shown the backdoor and Youssef took on the mission on interim basis. Sunday game would be his last in charge, as Ahly announced this week that Uruguayan Martin Lasarte would become the team’s new coach right after their continental duty.
“We are confident our players can finish the job in Ethiopia. Winning our last five games in all competitions has given the team morale boost to build on what they started and keep the winning streak”, added Youssef who will return to assistant coach role right after the return leg. He previously led Ahly to their eighth and last to date continental glory when he guided the Red Devils to the 2013 CAF Champions League title.
The aggregate winner will guarantee their place in the 28 December group stage draw, while the loser will be demoted to the second tier CAF Confederations Cup second 1/16th round.