CAIRO: Ahly will have to do without versatile midfielder Ahmed Fathi when they face Libya’s Ittihad in Sunday’s crucial Champions League clash at Cairo Stadium.
The Egyptian international, one of Ahly’s most consistent performers this season, failed to recover from a groin injury in time to take part in the second leg of the competition’s round of 16.
"Fathi underwent medical scans today that showed he will not be able to play against Ittihad," Ahly’s football director Hadi Khashaba said on the club’s official website on Wednesday.
"He needs 10 more days of treatment to return to full training and become available for Ahly’s matches."
The Red Devils are boosted though by the return of top scorer Emad Meteb, who shrugged off a back injury, and mercurial midfielder Mohamed Barakat.
Ahly coach Hossam Al-Badri is expected to field Meteb as a lone striker in front of attacking midfielders Barakat, Mohamed Abou-Trika and Ahmed Shokri.
The six-time African champions will be desperate to avoid an embarrassing Champions League exit from the preliminary rounds.
They need to overturn a two-goal deficit after losing 2-0 at Ittihad in the first leg to reach the group stage of Africa’s premier club competition.