CAIRO: Petrojet could not have a better chance of remedying a disappointing season than an Egyptian Cup quarter-final clash against league champions Ahly.
Ahly are the team to beat in Egypt, as usual, and they approach their tie against Petrojet in the best possible manner.
They wrapped up a sixth consecutive Egyptian Premier League title, reached the African Champions League group stage and eased to a 3-1 victory over arch-rivals Zamalek in the Cup’s round of 16.
Petrojet, meanwhile, could only finish fourth in the league despite making a very promising start and their woes were compounded when they suffered an early exit from the African Confederation Cup.
Beating Ahly would hand the petroleum club a badly-needed morale boost after their struggles prompted coach Mokhtar Mokhtar, who steered them to Premier League promotion in 2006, to announce that he would resign after the end of the season.
"Our opponents will do their best to prove their worth against the league champions," Ahly coach Hossam Al-Badri said.
Petrojet will miss several key players though due to injury, including Ghanaian marksman Eric Bekoe and his compatriot Cofie Bekoe.
They have not defeated Ahly since their promotion and suffered two league losses to the Red Devils this season.
Ahly have seemingly overcome their biggest opponent in the cup after outclassing Zamalek as they bid to clinch their 14th domestic double in history.
But they should not expect an easy test against Petrojet, according to defender Sherif Abdul-Fadil who was given a new lease of life as a right-back.
"It will be a difficult match, Petrojet are very ambitious and they are eager to win the cup," the 26-year-old, who joined Ahly last summer from bitter rivals Ismaili, said.
"They boast a strong attacking line that includes (Egyptian international) Al-Sayed Hamdi and Walid Soliman."
Ahly’s worries lie upfront, with top scorer Emad Meteb still nursing a back injury and his deputy Mohamed Fadl, who scored in the 3-1 win over Zamalek, suffering a groin injury that may rule him out of the game.
In Sunday’s other quarter-final clash, ENPPI, who won the competition once in 2005, take on Military Production.
Production finished seventh in their league after sealing promotion last season, ahead of eighth-placed ENPPI.