CAIRO: Ahly coach Manuel Jose said he expected that his side would not perform well following a 2-2 draw with arch-rivals Zamalek in the CAF Champions League.
The Red Devils looked on course for a fifth successive Cairo derby win when Angolan striker Flavio Amado put them ahead after eight minutes.
But two goals from Gamal Hamza and Junior Agogo gave Zamalek an unlikely lead.
However, despite a dull show, playmaker Mohamed Abou-Trika secured a goal in the 70th minute.
“I expected that my team wouldn’t be at their best, Jose told the post-match press conference.
“It was obvious that my players were not concentrating on the task ahead of them.
Already-qualified Ahly had nothing to play for in their Champions League group stage game against Zamalek, who sought to secure a win that would have strengthened their chances of reaching the semis.
“The nervousness of my players was unjustified. Zamalek players were the ones who should have been worried due to their situation in the group, the Portuguese coach added.
On the other hand, Zamalek coach Reiner Hollmann admitted the draw wouldn’t do his side any good although he was pleased with the display.
“Given the fact that we played the game without several regulars, we performed well, he said.
“But we still need to beat Dynamos Harare away from home, the German tactician added.
Zamalek had to do without skipper Ayman Abdel-Aziz and defender Wissem El-Abdi as both were suspended. Versatile midfielder Mohamed Ibrahim also missed the game due to injury.
To rub salt into the wounds, influential sweeper Hani Saied sustained an injury in the warm-up.
Zamalek must overcome Zimbabwean side Dynamos in their last group stage game if they are to advance to the semi-finals.