21:00 Cairo local time | 15:00 ET Canada-USA
Venue: Cairo International Stadium
Referee: Mahmoud Ismail (Sudan)
Tonight, at Cairo International Stadium, Al Ahly and Moroccan side Raja, two African powerhouses, will renew their rivalry in the first leg of the quarterfinals, with Ahly playing as the host.
Having already beaten their rivals in last season’s quarterfinals (with a 3-2 aggregate win) and securing a 7-6 penalty victory to clinch the 2022 African Super Cup title, it is evident that the Red Devils have dominated their opponents in recent years.
However, in 2023, Raja appears to have raised their game to another level. They were the top performers during the group stage, amassing 16 points out of 18 and scoring the highest number of goals (17) to emerge as the team with the best attack in that phase, comfortably finishing at the summit of their group.
After a difficult start, Ahly seems to have found their rhythm, finally sealing their qualification with a convincing 3-0 win over Al-Hilal of Sudan in their last group game.
According to Hussein El-Shahat, who spoke to the club’s website, “We’ve left the group stage behind us and now we need to prove to everyone that we’re playing at our true level.”
Having put up a series of impressive performances, the 10-time African Champions are now sitting comfortably at the top of the Egyptian League table, with a five-point lead.
Ahmed Abdel-Kader, a skilled winger, might not be available for the upcoming game as he picked up a muscle injury a week ago and is yet to pass his fitness test.
In addition, Ahly will be banking on the support of over 52,000 fans who have been given the green light to attend the match, hoping that their backing will help propel the team to victory.