Al Ahly manager Hossam El-Badry praised his side following a surprise 2-1 win against Sanfrecce Hiroshima in the Club World Cup quarter-final.
The Egyptian side, who have played few competitive fixtures this year due to the suspension of their country’s professional league, took the lead twice despite at-times heavy snowfall in Toyota and the loss of captain Hossam Ghaly through injury in the first half.
“I’m very happy about the result,” El-Badry said after the match. “Today was a difficult game. Sanfrecce is a very good, tactical team, so we studied them well.
“We went for the attack and concentrated on a goal because they were defending deep. We deserved to win today.”
After eliminating the favoured Sanfrecce, who themselves were not without injury after goalkeeper Shunsaku Nishikawa was forced to depart in the ninth minute of play, Al-Ahly will face Brazilian outfit Corinthians in the semi-finals on Wednesday.
“Corinthians is a big and strong team,” El-Badry continued. “But I will do my homework. Today our play was extremely good, and if we play like that against Corinthians we’ll do well.”
The former Egypt international also alluded to the political situation in Egypt, part of which has involved the suspension of professional football in the country following the Port Said disaster earlier this year.
“Our league is suspended for political reasons,” El-Bahdry said.
“We want to play in our league again. We don’t know what will happen, and because of that we’ve only played friendly matches and did our best under the circumstances.
“Not only us, but all Egyptians can be happy because of today’s result.”
Meanwhile, Sanfrecce coach Hajime Moriyasu saw positives in his team’s loss and credited Al Ahly for their preparation.
“We played aggressive football,” the J-League Manager of the Year said at his press conference.
“We expected to compete with our style against Al Ahly, but they studied us and came up with counter-measures.
“There was some confusion after Nishikawa’s injury, but (reserve goalkeeper Takuya) Masuda played well. (Defender Ryota) Moriwaki was also substituted because of fitness, and it was bad that we used two substitutions for injured players.”
With one Club World Cup match remaining against Ulsan Hyundai on Wednesday, Moriyasu saw an opportunity to prepare for next season’s AFC Champions League campaign.
“We’ll do our best against Ulsan Hyundai, since some players are injured,” the former Japan international continued. “Playing against a physical team will be a good simulation for the 2013 ACL.”