African flag-bearers Al Ahly of Egypt admit they will be rank outsiders against Bayern Munich on Monday in the Club World Cup semi-finals, despite boasting a 32-match unbeaten record in all competitions.
After a 1-0 quarter-finals victory over Al Duhail from host nation Qatar, South Africa-born coach Pitso Mosimane conceded that the odds are stacked against his Cairo Red Devils.
“Just about everybody expects Bayern to win and many pundits are saying the only outstanding issue is the winning margin.
“But all the pressure is on the European champions and there is none on us. We must enter the field, play with a smile, do our best and hope for a sensational outcome.
“Football can be a very funny game sometimes. Remember what Leicester City did in the English Premier League a few seasons ago?
“Bayern are the team that defeated a Barcelona side including Lionel Messi 8-2 in the Champions League last season,” he reminded reporters in Doha.
“They have won everything there is to win — all the German trophies plus the Champions League. They have an awesome squad.
“Bayern have also lifted the Club World Cup trophy before, defeating Raja Casablanca in the 2013 final in Morocco.”
The 2-0 victory for Bayern over Raja was one of only three clashes between European and African clubs since the world club championship was launched 21 years ago in Brazil.
In the maiden edition — the only one to use a two-group format — Raja lost 3-2 to Real Madrid in Sao Paulo with Cameroonian Geremi Njitap scoring the winning goal two minutes from time.
After shocking Internacional of Brazil to reach the 2010 title decider, Tout Puissant Mazembe, from the Democratic Republic of Congo, crumbled 3-0 to Inter Milan in Abu Dhabi.
Once again, a Cameroon star played a significant role in the defeat of the African hopefuls with Samuel Eto’o notching the second Inter goal just 17 minutes into the first half.
Bayern were almost as quick to establish their supremacy over Raja in Casablanca with Brazilian Dante and Spaniard Thiago netting inside 22 minutes.
Ahly brought 23 players to Qatar, including Congolese Walter Bwalya, Malian Aliou Dieng, Moroccan Badr Benoun, Nigerian Junior Ajayi and Tunisian Ali Maaloul.
Recent signing Bwalya was prominent in the first half against Duhail, setting up Hussein el Shahat to score the only goal before putting the ball in the net himself only to be ruled fractionally offside. AFP