CAF Confederation Cup Preview: Al Ahly closing in on final
The Cairo-based outfit claimed a 1-0 away win over Cameroon's Coton Sport in the first leg of their semi-final in Garoua last weekend.
The narrow win is a useful result to take into the second leg on Sunday but it far from guarantees the eight-time African champions progression to the final of the continent's second tier club competition.
Fans have been prohibited at Egyptian matches since 2012 after civil unrest in the country.
But Al Ahly officials have sought permission for an exemption to be put in place, a measure previously granted in continental competition.
"Coton Sport will be very dangerous here in Cairo as they have nothing to lose," Alaa Sadek, Al Ahly's football director, told Ahram Sport.
"We need home support to reach the final for the first time in Egyptian football.
"We have already made a formal request and we hope for a positive answer soon."
If Al Ahly do finish the job at home, they will be the first Egyptian team to reach the final of the Confederation Cup since it was launched in 2004.
However, the Cameroon champions are eager to turn the result around and take revenge on their continental nemesis, having lost each of their meetings in the Champions League - in 2008's final and the semi-finals of last year's competition.
"We are preparing for this game with a lot of humility and determination," Coton Sport manager Didier Gomes Da Rosa said.
"We know Al Ahly and believe they are the number one club in Africa, but we want to get through this round against a great opponent, and our clear goal is to reach the final."
The other semi-final second leg between AC Leopards and Sewe Sports is evenly poised with the Democratic Republic of Congo side finding themselves 1-0 down as they prepare to welcome the Ivorian first-time semi-finalists to their home base in Dolisie.
Leopards are aiming to reach their second CAF Confederation Cup final in three years and coach Patrick Aussems believes playing the second leg at home will be crucial for his side's progress to the final.
"We are fortunate to be able to host the return leg, so we are holding the cards," he said.
"We are ambitious and our objective is to reach the final,” he added.
Sewe are also confident of progressing and feel they can pick up a result on Saturday to book a spot in their first ever continental final.
"Sewe are in a comfortable position right now," manager Rigo Gervais claimed.
"We scored a goal and didn't concede. That's good ahead of the return leg.
"Sewe are doing well away from home. We never lost by more than a goal this season on the African stage.
"We will not travel to Dolisie to defend. I believe we have a chance to win there, and it is what we will try to achieve on Saturday."