Africa: Injury-Hit Ahly Face Tricky Debutants Js Saoura Test

Record eight-time continental champions Al Ahly face a tricky mission when they visit Algerian debutants JS Saoura on Friday as Group D enters match day 2.

The Egyptian giants started their mini league campaign with a 2-0 home victory over DR Congo's AS Vita, while Saoura were on the losing side in Dar Es-Salam, going down 3-0 to Tanzania's Simba.

Nasser Maher and Ali Maaloul scored in the second half in Alexandria to give Ahly new Uruguayan coach Martin Lasarte a victorious start to his continental campaign. Lasarte replaced Frenchman Patrice Carteron who was shown the exit after Ahly to Esperance in last season's final.

"We did what we planned for - the maximum points", Lasarte told the reporters after AS Vita game.

"To win your first group game is very important and we played for that from the very beginning".

Ahly is experiencing some tough times with injuries keeping out a number of players.

"We have some new faces that are still paving their way into the team. Many key players are absent due to injuries and we will do our best to find their suitable replacements. I believe all the players will give everything to return from Algeria with a positive result," added Lasarte.

Defenders Ahmed Fathy, Saad Samir and Mohamed Naguib, midfielders Hossam Ashour and Hesham Mohamed and strikers Walid Azaro, Marawan Mohsen and Salah Mohsen are all out due to various injuries. Another new signing, Mohamed Mahmoud sustained a knee injury during a domestic league game and will be away for the rest of the season. In addition, Malian defender Salif Coulibaly who played against AS Vita last weekend left the club later on mutual consent, joining Iraqi outfit, Al Shorta.

Lasarte will be looking to his side's new signings. Winger Ramadan Sobhy returned to his boyhood club on loan from English Premier League Huddersfield Town, and Hussein Elshahhat joined from UAE side Al Ain for a record fee. Defender Yasser Ibrahim and midfielder Hamdy Fathy joined the Red Devils from local sides Smouha and ENPPI respectively. Al Ahly will also be boasted by the return of the prolific Nigerian forward Junior Ajayi after an injury that sidelined him for more than six months.

This will be Ahly's 11th visit to Algeria in all CAF Competitions. In the previous 10 visits they have two wins, three draws and five defeats. On the other hand it will be JS Saoura's first ever CAF game against an Egyptian opponent. The Algerian outfit were founded in 2008, one year after Al Ahly celebrated their centenary.

AS Vita will be at home to Simba in the other Group D match on Sunday in Kinshasa.

Fixtures

Group A

19.01.2019 Abidjan ASEC (Cote d'Ivoire) vs Lobi Stars (Nigeria)

19.01.2019 Pretoria Sundowns (South Africa) vs Wydad (Morocco)

Group B

18.01.2019 Tunis Esperance (Tunisia) vs FC Platinum (Zimbabwe)

18.01.2019 Johannesburg Orlando Pirates (South Africa) vs Horoya (Guinea)

Group C

18.01.2019 Ismailia Ismaily (Egypt) vs Club Africain (Tunisia0

19.01.2019 Constantine CS Constantine (Algeria) vs TP Mazembe (DR Congo)

Group D

18.01.2019 Bechar JS Saoura (Algeria) vs Al Ahly (Egypt)

19.01.2019 Kinshasa AS Vita (DR Congo) vs Simba (Tanzania)

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