Smouha SC v Al Ahly - One more FINAL FOUR ticket up for grabs
ALEXANDRIA (Egypt) - Smouha Sporting Club enjoy a four-game winning streak ahead of hosting Al Ahly on Sunday, April 7th, for their second-leg of the FIBA Africa Basketball League 2019 ELITE 8.
With an impressive campaign that started with three wins in as many games in Group D, which was followed by a resounding 91-82 win in Cairo two weeks ago, they couldn't be any more confident ahead of Sunday's do-or-die clash.
But can Smouha SC prevail against the winners of the 2016 FIBA African Champions Cup?
Relieve 🇪🇬 @SmouhaOfficial's 91-82 victory over @Ahly_Basketball in the 1st leg of the Elite 8! #AfricaLeague— Africa Basketball League (@AfricaLeague) March 25, 2019
🔝 Todd O'Brien: 26pts, 14reb, 2ast
🔥 James Justice Jr: 21pts, 7reb, 7ast
👏 Adamu Saaka: 26pts, 3reb, 3ast pic.twitter.com/zAIhBmBGXk
To start with a win away from home has certainly boosted the teams' morale. And playing in Alexandria - for some, it is one of Egypt's basketball strongholds - what could be possibly go wrong for Smouha FC?
"I am happy about the win, but I know we can play better. We have one more stage to go against them. We are going to celebrate today, but we need to refocus, and think how we are going to attack them next game and try to advance to the Final Four.
“Al Ahly is a big team in Egypt," said Adamu Saaka, who powered Smouha SC in Game 1 with a game-high 26 points.
“One game at a time, but we are playing to win the whole thing. We are not just playing to get to the Final Four, we are playing because we want the championship, that’s our goal," Saaka added.
Adamu Saaka was on fire in Game 1 against Al Ahly. Can he deliver again?
However motivated Saaka and Co may be, they know that Al Ahly will be not be pushovers on Sunday.
After all, the Egyptian champions resurged from a 2-1 down to knock down Smouha SC in the best-of-three 2019 Super League Quarter-Finals Playoffs last week.
Player: Todd O'brien— العاب صالات الاهلي (@AhlyHall) February 8, 2019
position: Power forward
Height: 2.11 M
Weight: 110 KG pic.twitter.com/jMa1p01pYT
Todd O'Brien has been crucial for Al Ahly, and he might be the go-to guy while James Justice Jr is expected to to continue making making his case in the MVP conversation.
Providing the similarities between these two sides, those who handle the ball better and win the rebounding battle will move on to the FINAL FOUR in May.
Follow the game live on FIBA Youtube Channel on Sunday at 18:30 GMT+2.