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Title Decider Preview: Al Ahly vs. Smouha
Al Ahly and Smouha square off in the 2013/14 title decider. For the first time in three years, the Egyptian Premier League will come to an end, and the first time in four seasons that relegation will take place.
Fathi Mabrouk is in search for his major honour as a coach, while Hamada Sedky is looking to write his name in the history books by guiding Smouha to their maiden Egyptian Premier League crown. If Mabrouk manages to pull off the victory then the Red Devils will reach an unprecedented 37th league title, while the Blues are looking for the first Alexandrian dawry since Olimpi’s famous triumph in the 1965-66 season.
Al Ahly: D-W-W-W-W
Al Ahly head into the game with an upper hand as they only need to draw against Hamada Sedky’s men to secure the title on goal difference, meaning Smouha need nothing less than a win. Fathi Mabrouk’s side have relied heavily on the youth system, especially in the final phase of the league this season. Ramadan Sobhy and Karim ‘Bambo’ coupled with the more experienced Mahmoud Hassan ‘Trezeguet’ and Amr Gamal continue to cause havoc to the league’s defensive lines with their mazy runs and overwhelming fitness levels.
Smouha on the other hand line up in their famous 3-5-2 formation, which has provided both attacking threat and defensive stability throughout their league campaign. With former Al Ahly and Zamalek players in their ranks, continuity was never been a problem for Hamada Sedky’s men in the 2013/14 season. Achieving promotion in the 2010/11 season, the Blues are a relatively ‘new’ side to the top flight, but some of their key figures have many years of experience.
Al Ahly: Ramadan Sobhy
The 17-year-old playmaker has recently caught the eye of Egyptian football viewers with excellent displays, with some even dubbing him as the next ‘Mohamed Abou-Treika’. His form in the Dubai Youth tournament months ago along with his recent displays against Petrojet and Zamalek cemented the notion that he is a special footballer. Despite his impressive performances, Sobhy remains an unknown quantity to Smouha, having only appeared five times for the first team. Whether he’ll be able to fulfill his role and provide chances to the front line will be clinical.
Smouha: Ahmed Hamoudi
Despite early tension in the relationship between the club and the player in the beginning of the season, the attacking midfielder’s play resembles that of former Petrojet and current Al Masry man Mahmoud Abdel-Hakim. Along with Hani El-Egeizy and Alaa Ali, the trio have formed a ‘Bermuda triangle’, often terrorizing the opposition. If Smouha manage to pull off the win, then 23-year-old captain Hamoudi has to be on top form to provide the chances for El-Egeizy up front. Will it be Ramadan Sobhy or Hamoudi to come out victorious in the battle of the trequartisti?
Al Ahly have experience, intuition, maturity and power. Smouha though revel in their underdog status and will take the game to the Red Devils. After all, they need a win in Monday’s game to secure the league title. Even though Smouha have been extremely consistent this season – taking the game to Al Ahly will cause several spaces to open up behind the defenders, and when coming up against the pacy Al Ahly forwards, they could definitely struggle.
Prediction: Al Ahly 2-1 Smouha