Ahly coach Manuel Jose said his players reeled under pressure in the first-half against Auckland City FC on Sunday but they looked comfortable and produced their normal game when goals came after the interval.
The African champions romped to a 2-0 win over the New Zealand side in the opening game of the 2006 FIFA Club World Cup.
We were very nervous in the first half. Losing both our games last year just increased the pressure on us, Jose told a post-game press conference in Toyota.
We were severely affected by the pressure today, it was plain for all to see. We lost our shape in the first half, and kept trying to find a way through the middle.
We created decent chances, but we failed to put them away due to our nerves.
Ahly turned on the style in the second period with Angolan striker Flavio Amado dinking home from the edge of the area and superstar Mohamed Abou-Treika converting a trademark free-kick.
In the second half, the goal gave us back our belief, the Portuguese manager added.
We retained possession much better and looked more solid. At the end of the day, that was the decisive factor in winning.
The victory earned Ahly, who finished at the basement of the tournament last year, a place in the semis against Brazilian side and South American champions Internacional on Wednesday.
Jose admitted that facing the Brazilian will be a daunting task but stressed that his side has nothing to lose as they march on in their adventure.
We need to show more belief in ourselves. That s a major difference between Brazilian and Egyptian football, he said.
We have nothing to lose, and at worst we ll gain valuable experience. We have some good individuals, so there s no need to be frightened of anyone.