CAIRO — Al-Ahly football team finished preparations in readiness for their encounter against Simba of Tanzania in the inaugural African Football League (AFL) return-leg in Cairo.
The Egyptian giants were held to a 2-2 draw by Home side Simba of Tanzania in the first-leg of the quarter-finals of the AFL played in Dar es Salaam.
The Cairo giants will host Simba in the second-leg at Cairo International Stadium on Tuesday.
The Red Devils will have a slight advantage after scoring two away goals, and will need either a win or a draw of less then two goals to advance to the AFL semi-finals.
Al-Ahly head coach Marcel Koller admitted the match will be difficult, but reiterates they will map out a game plan that sails them into the last four.
“The 2-2 result is acceptable for us heading back to Egypt. We play at home and we will give our best to ensure we win. It will not be easy, but we will work hard to earn what is deserved for us,” the Swiss tactician said after the first-leg.
In Dar es Salaam, Simba had come from a goal down to lead 2-1 courtesy of two second-half goals from Kibu Dennis and substitute Sadio Kanoute, but Mahmoud Abdel-Moneim ‘Kahraba’ levelled for the Red Devils minutes later, adding on to Moroccan forward Reda Slim’s first-half goal.
Looking back at his side’s performance, he was delighted with how they managed and controlled the game, and the mature performance exhibited by his side.
“We played very well especially in the first half and even before we scored, we had three clear chances that we should have converted.
“In the second-half Simba came back stronger but we showed good character to score immediately after conceding,” Koller noted according to tournament’s official website.
Meanwhile, Simba will have their work cut out in the Egyptian capital, as they also need a win or a high scoring draw to progress to the semis.
Coach Roberto Oliveira has acknowledged that they face a massive task ahead of them, but remains optimistic and confident they can get over the line.
“Always, my objective as a coach is to play well and win. I don’t play to defend, I am a positive man and I will do everything to win.
“We need to show our capacity and I am positive we can go away and put a good performance to win,” noted the Brazilian tactician.
Simba showed an improved performance in the second-half against Ahly in Dar, and Oliveira attributed this to a change in team shape and personell.
“We noticed that we were losing both the first and the second ball and that is why we brought Kanoute (Sadio) in so that he can play with Fabrice (Ngoma) in midfield. We improved a lot in this and controlled the game,” said the coach according to afl.africa.
He added; “We played against a very strong team and with a lot of experience in African football. It was a game of two halves; first-half for Ahly, second-half for Simba. There is a lot of positives we can pick heading into the return tie.”