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Preview: Esperance vs. Ahli
Published in FilGoal on 17 - 11 - 2012

Esperance (Tunisia) vs. Ahli (Egypt)
Kickoff: 19.30 CLT
CAF Champions League Final – Second Leg (1-1)
Venue: Stade Olympique de Rades, Tunis
MATCH FACTS
Ahli
-Ahli manager Hossam Al-Badri has yet to win a continental match away from Cairo, having lost eight and drawn four with the Reds over two separate stints.
-In 12 previous African finals, Ahli have only won once away from home – the epic victory curiously took place at Rades Stadium over Sfaxien in 2006.
-Ahli defender Wael Gomaa is set to make his 99th CAF Champions League appearance. No one in the Dark Continent has played more games that the Egypt veteran in the competition.
-The last Ahli player to score at Esperance was Sayed Abdul-Hafiz – the present football director of the Egyptian champions.
Esperance
-Only once had Esperance scored more than a single goal in a Champions League final leg throughout 11 previous occasions (6 finals).
-Curiously, it was a 3-1 victory over Ahli's perennial rivals Zamalek in the 1994 final.
-Esperance have only conceded three goals in six home games this season, while Ahli have failed to find the net three times out of five matches outside Cairo.
QUOTES
Esperance coach Nabil Maaloul

“The first leg draw was a positive result for us surely, but we see each game as a separate one, and we remember how Ahli won the title in 2006 at the last moment here in Tunisia. So we have to be careful.
“Playing the final at home is a double-ended sword. We have the ground and supporters advantage but on the other hand this could put more pressure on the team, and that's what we fear."
Ahli coach Hossam Al-Badri
“Drawing comparisons with the 2006 final against Sfaxien doesn't make sense. Football is not about facts and history. Ahli could still win with a different scenario.
“I think we were unlucky not to win in the first leg in Alexandria, and now we will have to show our best to win the return game.
“For the first time during my years in football, I felt that all the Egyptian people are backing the team and praying for Ahli to win the title. So we hope to be fortunate and achieve this for our people."
TEAM NEWS
Once again Ahli will miss Sayed Moawad through injury but the Egypt full-back is the Reds' only major absentee.
Summer signings Oussou Konan and Ahmed Sedik were left out of Al-Badri's squad in Tunis, while striker Dominique da Silva is reportedly in line for a rare start.
The pacey Mauritanian could be drafted in for the doubtful Walid Soliman, while Ahmed Shedid could replace Sherif Abdul-Fadil at left-back.
Esperance, in contrast, have a host of casualties, with star man Youssef Msakni still a major doubt following an appendicitis operation.
Another major blow for Maaloul is the suspension of right-flank pair Harrison Afful and Sameh Derbali, who both received their second caution in the first leg draw.
Tunisia international midfielder Mejdi Traoui has also been ruled after being injured in training.
PROBABLE LINE-UPS
AHLI: Ekrami – Fathi, Gomaa, Naguib, Shedid – Ashour, Ghaly, Al-Saied, Abou-Treika – Geddo, Dominique
ESPERANCE: Ben Cherifia – Chemmam, Ben Mansour, Hichri, Ben Amor – Ragued, Mouelhi, Aouadhi, Bouazzi, Bellaili – N'Djeng


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