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PREVIEW: Al Ahly and Al Masry face after three-year hiatus
Match: Al Masry vs. Al Ahly
Competition: Egyptian Premier League (Matchday 17)
Venue: El-Gouna Stadium
Date and Time: Saturday, January 10th 2015; 14:30 CLT (12:30 GMT)
Al Ahly and Al Masry will come head-to-head for the first time since the horrific Port Said incident in 2012, when 72 Al Ahly supporters were brutally murdered in the Port Said Stadium following the Green Eagles’ 3-1 victory over the Reds.
Controversy has been surrounding the game as parents of the Port Said victims have protested in front of the club and demanded that the Red Devils forfeit the match in respect to the martyrs. However, the Red Devils’ board insisted on playing the game.
Al Ahly coach Juan Carlos Garrido also shared his opinion on the incident.
“It’s horrible what happened,” he said. “It is a lasting trauma for many people because it was an enormous tragedy in the history of Egypt and Al Ahly.
“I share my feelings of sorrow and sympathy to everyone who lost someone that day and I also understand the pain they lived there; it’s a drama that hurts us and we have it in our mind.
However, the Spanish manager stressed on the fact that he only coaches a football team, and he can’t decide on forfeiting a game for any reason.
“Our obligation is to play on behalf of Al Ahly and represent our fans, always in the best possible way,” he continued. “Therefore, I ask everyone to understand our situation and to support our players because we will always defend Al Ahly.”
It was also announced that the Red Devils’ board will not watch the game from the stands.
The two teams have faced each other 51 times before in Egyptian Premier League. The Red Devils won 16 times while the Green Eagles only won 13, with the remaining 22 games finishing as a draw. However, in the last 10 years, Al Ahly have prevailed 12 times, whilst Al Masry have only won once. The goal record in the fixture is also to Al Ahly’s favour, as the Red Devils have scored 29 goals and conceding only 10 in the past 20 games.
W W L W W
L L L W L
Both sides enter the game on completely opposite sides of the spectrum; Al Masry currently lie in the 13th position with 4 points above the relegation zone, while Al Ahly are currently in 4th place in the Egyptian Premier League with 13 points below league leaders Zamalek, but with four games in hand.
The game will also see two Spanish coaches in charge of the dugout, with Juan Carlos Garrido in charge of Al Ahly and Juan Maqueda in charge of the Green Eagles.
Garrido is set to miss the services of Sherif Ekramy, Bassem Ali, Amr Gamal, Mohamed Nagy ‘Gedo’, and Sherif Hazem due to injury, whilst Hossam Ashour and Walid Soliman are set to miss the game due to suspension.
New recruit Momen Zakaria – who scored a brace for Al Masry in the game of 2012 – is also set to miss the game after being banned by the EFA for allegedly signing for two clubs simultaneously.
Maqueda on the other hand has retained the services of key figures Ahmed Yasser, Mohamed Ashour, El-Sayed Abdel-Aal, as well as finalising the signing of former Egyptian U-20 international goalkeeper Mohamed Awad.
Al Ahly: Mosaad Awad; Mohamed Hany, Mohamed Naguib, Saad Samir, Hussein El-Sayed; Mohamed Rizk, Hossam Ghaly, Mahmoud Hassan ‘Trezeguet’, Karim Bambo; Ahmed Abdel-Zaher, Saladin Said.
Al Masry: Mohamed Awad; Osama Azab, Mohamed Gomaa, Wilson Akakubu, Ahmed Dawoud; El Sayed Abdel-Aal, Mohamed Ashraf, Ashour El-Adham, Mahmoud Gabr; Ahmed Raouf, Hamada Yehia.