21 August 2014 19:39
Al Ahly insist they will not be taking the challenge of Etoile Sahel lightly as they look to reach the CAF Confederation Cup’s semi-finals.
With just one match remaining in the group stages, the Egyptian champions are on the verge of booking their spot in the last four.
But despite Al Ahly holding the Group B lead, they also know defeat on Saturday could knock them out of the competition given the close nature of the pool.
Al Ahly – top with eight points from five matches – host the bottom-placed Etoile Sahel on Saturday.
Etoile are just three points behind them, though, and could actually move ahead of Al Ahly with an unlikely victory.
New Al Ahly coach Juan Carlos Garrido has acknowledged expectation is high for his side but has backed his men to pass the test.
“We are the biggest club in Africa. We have to win,” Garrido said.
“We are under a lot of pressure to win and we will try to do just that.”
Al Ahly lost 1-0 to Nkana of Zambia in their last group match – Garrido’s first continental fixture in charge of the club.
And the former Villarreal coach said he learned “many lessons” from the clash as Al Ahly missed a chance to seal their last-four berth.
“Our match against Nkana was my first on African grounds,” he added.
“I could say that Nkana’s pitch was the worst thing I’ve seen in my coaching career.”
While just one win separates Al Ahly and Etoile, Nkana and the Ivory Coast’s Sewe Sport are only one point apart.
Nkana are in pole position to qualify from Group B, though, after their win over Al Ahly lifted them to second on seven points.
Sewe Sport have drawn both of their home matches in the group but know that will be not enough on this occasion.
In Group A, table-toppers Cotonsport of Cameroon have already qualified, meaning they can rest easy ahead of their trip to Mali to face Real Bamako on Sunday.
And Leopards de Dolisie know all they have to avoid a heavy defeat to join Cotonsport in the last four.
They host Ivory Coast’s ASEC and are full of confidence after a 4-0 win at Cotonsport earlier this month.