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VIDEO: Ghazl seal promotion over Baladeya in Mahalla derby
Baladeya headed into the game with 10 points in the promotion play-offs, three points ahead of Ghazl, meaning ‘Argentina’ needed a win to return to the top flight after a one year absence.
The build-up to the game was tense, prompting security forces to move the game to Cairo to avoid any possible crowd trouble in Mahalla – with referee Ibrahim Nour El-Din, who refereed last season’s Cairo Derby, taking charge of the officiating.
El Falaheen started the game off brightly and could’ve made it 1-0 early on via Mostafa Kaloosha, whose strike was parried away by Baladeya keeper Al-Montaser.
However, the red-whites took control of the game – striker Mohamed Nagy going through on goal before sending in a cross which was tipped over the bar by Amr El-Ahmady.
The corresponding corner resulted in the first goal of the game; a cross sent into the box was turned in by Sylla to send Gamal El-Maqass’ men wild.
Mostafa Kaloosha had another strike on goal, this time it was parried away by Al-Montaser.
However, Ghazl’s 22-year-old striker Khaled Kasaab had other ideas – Mostafa Fathallah sent a cross into the box before the former headed into the net.
Event though they’d went level, a draw would’ve been enough for Baladeya – urging Ghazl to press harder in the second half.
El-Maqass made his first change of the game by taking Mohamed Ragab ‘Reio’ off for Mohamed Lala to try to stimulate offensive play and score a second goal to put the game out of sight.
Kasaab though had other ideas once more, as he latched onto Fathallah’s cross before sending his half-volley into the roof of the net; the comeback was complete, Mohamed Fayez’s men had to hang on to the lead to earn promotion, and they did just that.
Baladeya’s fitness levels went down significantly after Kasaab’s goal; bar a strike from Sylla, they never really threatened El-Ahmady’s goal.
After 95 minutes of play, Ibrahim Nour El-Din blew the final whistle to signal the end of Baladeya’s promotion bid, while it was ecstasy in ‘Sabaa Banat’ area as Ghazl El Mahalla had achieved promotion at the expense of their bitter rivals.
It is also worth mentioning that Aswan, led by former Al Ahly star Emad El-Nahhas, were the first side to achieve promotion to next season’s Egyptian Premier League – returning to the top flight for the first time since 2003/2004.