Ahly confident of reaching Champions League semi-finals

Violent clashes between Al Ahly fans and police
Ahly are confident of avoiding a repeat of the violence that marred their recent local cup game against Kima Aswan

Egypt's Al Ahly say they are confident of making it to the African Champions League semi-finals with a win over Tunisia's Esperance on Friday.

The six-time champions can still reach the last four after drawing 1-1 away at Morocco's Wydad Casablanca on Sunday, a defeat would have seen them out of contention.

The Egyptians can now reach the last four by beating Esperance by a two-goal margin, that would mean they finish above the Tunisians on their head-to-head record.

Ahly board member Khaled Mortagey is confident his side can qualify.

"Hopefully this will happen and if we play the same way we did with the support of 100,000 spectators in the Cairo stadium, which I believe is going to be the case, I think we can do the job," he told BBC Sport.

He admitted that the draw against Wydad had come as a big relief to the club.

"I know coach Manuel Jose and the team's objective was to get the three points to make life more easier for the next game, but the draw is a bit of a relief," he added.

"Wydad is a very good team and they showed a very good game."

Esperance remained top of Group B after a 4-0 win over visiting Mouloudia Alger of Algeria on Saturday.

The weekend's results meant that only Mouloudia cannot reach the last four from Group B.

Mortagey said they are already looking beyond the semi-final berth and to winning the trophy in order to qualify for December's Club World Cup in Japan.

"The Champions League competition is very important to Ahly fans; they really want us to qualify for the Club World cup in Japan this year," he added.

Mortagey expressed confidence that there will not be a repeat of the violence that has marred several games in Egypt this year including a recent local cup game featuring Ahly.

There were 130 people injured when Ahly fans clashed with police following the game against Kima Aswan.

"We are confident that nothing bad will happen during the match because we had the same thing when we were playing against Zesco and there was no police whatsoever yet it was a very important game for us," he pointed out.

"I think what happened in the last match against Kima Aswan was something that is really exceptional and I don't think it will ever happen again,'' he said.

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