With its Sunday bashing of New Zealand’s Auckland City 2-0 at the Fifa Club World championship in Japan, Al Ahly became the first African team to win a Club World Cup match.
Coach Manuel Jose urged the African champions not to be overawed by the occasion when they turn out in Tokyo s National Stadium on Wednesday to play South American champions Internacional who are looking to keep the Club World Cup trophy in Brazil.
We need to show more belief in ourselves. That s a major difference between Brazilian and Egyptian football, Jose said.
My players don t need to think about things too much. We have nothing to lose, and at worst we ll gain valuable experience. We have some good individuals, so there s no need to be frightened of anyone.
Barcelona will play CONCACAF champions Club America in their semi-final match on Thursday after the Mexicans beat Jeonbuk Motors 1-0 late on Monday.
The tournament between the six continental champions has replaced the Europe-South America clash played since 1960.
The Brazilian team from Porto Alegre watched arch-rivals Sao Paulo down Liverpool to win last year s competition and can become the sixth Brazilian intercontinental champions if they win two matches here. Spanish giants Barcelona are likely to stand in Inter s way provided both reach Sunday s final. We come from a poor country, where there isn t much money in either football or in society in general. That s why testing ourselves against a wealthy European outfit, who have some of the finest players in the world, is a fantastic challenge, said Inter captain Fernandao.
We ll be relying on a dose of unique Brazilian pride to help us succeed.
But in Egypt, Ahly fans are hoping the resilience of the red pharaohs will hold out and give the samba dancers a run for their money.