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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jul 27, 2006

Al Ahli hit by absences for Champions League test

JOHANNESBURG, July 27 (Reuters) - Defending champions Al Ahli have been hit by injury and suspensions as they host Algeria's JS Kabylie in Cairo on Saturday seeking to bounce back from their opening African Champions League group defeat.

The Egyptian giants, who lost a two-year unbeaten record on African soil with defeat at Tunisia's CS Sfaxien a fortnight ago, will play without three influential midfielders and their top striker.

Victory for Al Ahli in last weekend's Egyptian Super Cup has been tempered by a knee injury to Mohamed Aboutrika, who scored the last-gasp winner but is now out for the next month.

Already out with a long-term injury is his influential partner Mohamed Barakat while Shady Mohamed and striker Emad Moteab are banned for one match for their attempt to assault the referee after the defeat in Tunisia.

Sfaxien, whose captain Anis Boujelbene has postponed a planned transfer to Egypt to help his team's Champions League cause, play away in Ghana on Saturday in Group A's other match against Asante Kotoko. The match will be played on Obuasi.

Group B leaders Enyimba play at home against South Africa's Orlando Pirates on Sunday and have a chance to extend their winning start to the group phase.

Pirates' new coach, Serbian Milutin Sredojevic, is concerned by the Johannesburg-based club's poor start to the new season.

'We are going to have to work hard to reverse this slide,' he told reporters on Wednesday in the wake of losses in pre-season matches and the dropping of a vital home point in their opening Group B game against ASEC Abidjan of the Ivory Coast.

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