Pitso Mosimane masterminded an incredible win over CONCACAF giants Monterrey with a 1-0 victory in their FIFA Club World Cup opener in Abu Dhabi on Saturday evening.
With Percy Tau injured and seven of their first-team players away with Egypt for the Africa Cup of Nations final – they were severely up against the wall even before the final whistle.
But a resolute defensive display with swift counter-attacking instinct proved decisive as they restricted the favoured Mexicans, who had former Premier League players Joel Campbell and Vincent Jansen in their ranks, to minimum clear-cut chances.
And this proved the cornerstone to their incredible achievement as they were backed by a capacity crowed of 9396 in attendance, with a sea of red shirts vibrant and enveloping the travelling Monterrey fans and notably intimidated the North Americans.
Mohamed Hany’s clean strike after 52 minutes was a goal worthy of separating the contest as they took advantage of a period of ascendancy just after the break.
However, former Egypt coach Javier Aguirre rallied his troops forward as the tie became an end to end affair in the final 25 minutes.
Al Ahly, though, maintained their slim advantage to the end and qualified for their second successive semi-final of the Club World Cup.
After previously losing twice to Monterrey in the competition, Mosimane masterminded the victory with his depleted squad and will now face Copa Libertadores champions in the semi-final.
Both sides met in the third-place playoff last time around, when Al Ahly beat the Brazilian side on penalties to bring the bronze medal home to Africa.
Story by Lorenz Kohler (@Lorenz_KO), who reports for iDiski Times from the United Arab Emirates.