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Al Ahly defeated a resolute Misr El-Maqassa side in the Matchday 34 clash of top four teams, thanks to goals from Ahmed Abdel-Zaher and Islam Roshdy.
Al Ahly (4-4-2): Ahmed Adel, Sabri Rahil, Saad Samir, Sherif Abdel-Fadil, Bassem Ali, Hossam Ashour, Hendrik Helmke, Ramadan Sobhy, Karim Bambo, Mohamed Nagy ‘Gedo’, Ahmed Abdel-Zaher.
Misr El-Maqassa (4-4-2): Mahmoud Hamdy, Ahmed El-Sayed, Abdel-Hamid Samy, Mohamed Aboul-Maged, Mohamed Wahid, Abdallah Farouk, Hany Saied, Omar Nagdy, Ahmed Samy, El-Sayed Hamdy, Wael Farrag.
The instructions from Al Ahly manager Fathi Mabrouk were clear, as the Red Devils dominated the early proceedings of the game, but there were no real chances in the first ten minutes.
After 13 minutes, youngster Karim Bambo saw his close-ranged shot saved by Maqasssa goalkeeeper Mahmoud Hamdy. This turned out to be Bambo’s last involvement as he was replaced six minutes later due to injury, with Mohamed Rizk coming on.
Rizk almost made an immediate impact, as seconds after his introduction, he missed a glorious chance to put Al Ahly ahead following a fine team move.
On 32 minutes, Ahmed Abdel-Zaher should have put his name on the scoresheet. After being played through on goal, Ramadan Sobhy found Abdel-Zaher in the box, who pulled his shot just wide of the post amid heavy pressure from Maqassa defender Abdel-Hamid Samy.
The shots on goal dried up for Al Ahly, as the two teams entered the half time break deadlocked at zero apiece.
The second half began much like the first half played out: with Al Ahly on the front foot, but susceptible to counter attacks.
On 57 minutes, the Red Devils should have been 1-0 up after Gedo put Ramadan Sobhy through on goal. The starlet midfielder, who recently made his Egyptian senior team debut, inexplicably put his shot over the crossbar, and the game remained tied.
Ten minutes later, Fathi Mabrouk brought on Ethiopian Saladin Said for Gedo, who is still unable to play significant minutes after recently returning from an ACL injury. The substitution paid dividends, when seconds later, Al Ahly finally broke the deadlock.
A corner kick found Saad Samir, who sent a booming header towards goal. Mahmoud Hamdy got a hand to it, but the ball fell to an unmarked Ahmed Abdel-Zaher who made no mistake to make it 1-0 to the Cairo giants.
On 75 minutes, Fathi Mabrouk made his final substitution when midfielder Islam Roshdy replaced goalscorer Abdel-Zaher. Minutes later, Al Ahly had two glorious chances to extend their lead. Saladin Said saw his effort from the edge of the box hit the post, and Rizk’s attempt from the rebound was blocked by Mahmoud Hamdy.
Substitute Islam Roshdy successfully put the game to rest when he doubled the Red Devils’ lead after 85 minutes with a fine finish from the edge of the box into the bottom corner of Hamdy’s net. The last five minutes brought no further incident, and Al Ahly walked away as 2-0 winners.
The win sees Al Ahly increase the gap between them and fourth-placed Maqassa to ten points. The Red Devils remain in third place, tied with ENPPI on points, who defeated Masry 3-1 in their Matchday 34 clash. ENPPI hold a superior goal difference over the Red Devils, but Al Ahly have 3 games in hand. The two teams are facing a test of time to catch leaders Zamalek, who lead the league by six points and have a Matchday 34 battle against Damanhour beckoning.