K.O. 15:00 Cairo time (GMT+2) | 9:00 AM ET Canada-USA
Venue: Loftus Versfeld Stadium (Pretoria (Tshwane))
The Cairo giants have been unable to secure a victory against Mamelodi Sundowns in their last seven meetings in Pretoria, enduring significant defeats in the South African capital. These losses include a 5-0 defeat in 2019 and a 5-2 setback in March of last year.
Ahly advanced to the semifinals of the inaugural AFL with a somewhat unconvincing performance, relying on the away goal rule following a 3-3 aggregate draw.
Mamelodi Sundowns clinched their spot in the much-anticipated continental tournament by defeating Petro Atletico of Angola 2-0 on aggregate.
The Red Devils will miss the services of their in-form winger, Emam Ashour, who is sidelined due to a calf injury. Additionally, midfielders Amr El-Sulaya, Karim Fouad, Ahmed Abdel-Kader, Akram Tawfik, and defender Mahmoud Metwally remain sidelined due to various injuries.
Notwithstanding the absence of these key players, Ahly coach Marcel Koller has expressed confidence and readiness for the upcoming game.
“I’m delighted to be back in South Africa for the second time. I’ve taken valuable lessons from our previous match, but tomorrow presents a fresh challenge,” stated Koller.
In the meantime, Sundowns will be without the experienced defender Mothobi Mvala, who is serving a two-match suspension following his red card in the Petro Atletico clash. Additionally, Chile’s attacking midfielder Marcelo Allende won’t be available for Sundowns due to an injury he sustained during the goalless draw against Petro Atletico in the second leg of the AFL quarterfinals last week.
Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena emphasizes the enduring intrigue of facing Ahly and assures that his players are fully prepared for the showdown against the reigning African Champions League title holders.
“Ahly boasts a roster of exceptionally talented players. I’ve had the chance to watch part of their away game in Tanzania, where they secured a 2-2 draw against Simba FC,” Mokwena remarked.
“It promises to be an intriguing match, with two formidable teams going head-to-head. We’ll give our utmost effort to aim for victory,” added the South African coach.
The AFL, introduced through a collaboration between the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and FIFA, features eight teams from various regions of the continent, including TP Mazembe from DR Congo, Esperance from Tunisia, Enyimba from Nigeria, and Wydad from Morocco.
The AFL champions will receive a substantial prize of $4 million, the highest award in continental club competitions.
Ahly and Mamelodi Sundowns have crossed paths in the African Champions League on 14 occasions. Among these encounters, the Red Devils have secured five wins, endured four defeats, and played to five draws.
Live: Mamelodi Sundowns 1-0 Al Ahly | African Football League