Head coach Pitso Mosimane highlighted reasons for his delight as Al Ahly continued their dream start to the Egyptian Premier League with a 1-0 win over Al Mokawloon.
Hamdi Fathi scored the decisive goal in Friday's league encounter to clinch all three points for Mosimane's side at the Al-Salaam Stadium.
Friday's win continues a perfect start for the former Mamelodi Sundowns tactician in their quest to reclaim the league title.
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"Our international players participated in two matches with their national teams, it's normal for their level to decline during the match," Mosimane said post-match.
"The performance was good, we imposed ourselves, but we missed many opportunities. I'm happy to win because we faced a strong team and because usually after big matches, such as the victory over Zamalek, we don't win the next one.
"Before the match, you can't easily decide to rest key players."
In a late twist, goalscorer Fathi was sent off in stoppage-time meaning he is set to miss the Red Devils' next encounter against fourth-placed Ghazl El-Mahalla on Monday.
"We will lose an important player in Hamdi Fathi in the next match," Mosimane added. "A player capable of playing multiple roles on the field, but this is not an excuse in front of Ghazl El-Mahalla.
Kick-off is at 17:30 (SA time).