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VIDEO: Bambo rescues nine-man Al Ahly against Arab Contractors
In a scrappy, open match that featured three red cards, Karim Bambo came off the bench to clinch the 3 points for Al Ahly in the 85th minute.
The substitute’s header was enough to give Al Ahly their third win of the season, managing to overcome a resilient Contractors side at Osman Ahmed Osman.
Al Ahly XI (4-2-3-1): Ahmed Adel; Bassem Ali, Mohamed Naguib, Saad Samir, Sabry Rahil; Hossam Ashour, Hossam Ghaly, Mahmoud ‘Hassan’ Trezeguet, Mohamed Farouk, Mohamed Rizk; Emad Meteb.
Arab Contractors XI (4-4-2): Mohamed Abo El-Sououd; Ahmed Aly, Moatasem Salem, Ahmed Moody, Sherif Alaa; Karim Mostafa, Mohamed Khallaf, Hossam Abdel-Aal, Mohamed Abdelwahed; Mohamed Salem-Mohamed Fadl.
The first-half was an exciting affair, with both teams trading attacks in a quick tempo opening. Mahmoud Trezeguet and Mohamed Rizk were controlling play for Al Ahly and finding plenty of space to play in. Contractors were dangerous on the break (despite only scoring 3 times this year so far) and were constantly threatening with Mohamed Salem’s speed and Fadl’s trickery.
Hossam Ashour threatened from range a couple of times, but the first real chance fell to Trezeguet who dribbled past two players and just missed with his curling shot aimed for the far post. A couple of minutes later and Trezeguet was again put through on goal by a great through-ball from Farouk and instead of shooting he squared for Meteb who somehow missed.
Contractors had a quick response, with Mohamed Salem outracing Saad Samir and going through one-on-one with the keeper, narrowly missing a huge chance to take the lead.
The second-half started like the first ended, with Mohamed Salem showing off his quickness and dribbling skill to weave past the defense and put in a dangerous cross with no-one coming to meet it. Contractors started the half brightly, and were pressing much more cohesively in the early minutes.
Saad Samir was injured early in the second half, with a calf injury leading to Sherif Hazem taking his place in the line-up. 58 minutes in, a quick break for Al Ahly led to Contractors man Karim Mostafa throwing himself into a dangerous challenge and receiving a red card, leaving Contractors down to 10 men and facing an uphill battle. 2 minutes later, Sabry Rahil negated Al Ahly’s advantage by picking up a quick second yellow card and getting himself sent off, leaving the match 10 vs. 10
As the game opened up due to the red cards, Al Ahly took advantage of the space and fashioned chances. Meteb headed straight at the keeper from a good Trezeguet cross, and minutes later Rizk again shot straight at the keeper when he was clean through.
Al Ahly didn’t heed earlier warnings of Salem’s speed though, and were caught on the break in the 66th minute once again leaving Mohamed Naguib with no option but to commit a professional foul and get sent off, leaving Al Ahly with 9 players vs 10.
Garrido responded by bringing Bambo and Ramadan Sobhy for Mohamed Farouk and Mohamed Rizk in an effort to get some energetic legs in midfield. With the game now completely open, it was just a matter of who would take their chances better. Ahmed Adel and Mohamed Abo ElSeoud both pulled off great saves in the final 10 minutes from clear cut chances (again Mohamed Salem for Contractors).
With 4 minutes to go, a Trezeguet cross found Meteb, and it was rebounded into the path of Bambo who steered into the net for the first goal of the game. Despite the late lead, Al Ahly weren’t able to close out the game without some scares, as Mohamed Abdelwahed and Ahmed Ali both forced good saves from Adel. Both Bambo and Sobhy missed late chances to put Al Ahly’s lead beyond doubt in the last couple of hectic minutes, but Al Ahly hung on to defeat Contractors with 9 men in a thrilling game.
The victory leaves Al Ahly 9th with 11 points from 6 games, only a point behind Zamalek with the same number of games and 3 behind Masry (who have played 2 extra games). Contractors drop to 15th with 6 points from 8 games and only 3 goals scored so far, despite their impressive counterattacking ability today.
Man of the Match: Mahmoud ‘Hassan’ Trezeguet – Six shots, countless good crosses and passes, and a real influential display from the Egyptian youngster.
Honourable mention(s): Karim Bambo and Mohamed Salem – Bambo came on and won the match, and Mohamed Salem was Contractor’s only consistent goal threat, missing a couple of chances but causing a red card and getting fouled eight times.