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VIDEO: Stade Malien, Al Ahly settle for a point each in Bamako
With a 17-man squad, Al Ahly needed a win in Bamako in order to regain their spot at the top of Group A, a tough challenge as no Egyptian side ever won a game at the Stade du 26 Mars.
Al Ahly XI: Ekrami; Ali, Hazem, Samir, Naguib, Rahil; Zakaria, Ghaly, El-Saied, Sobhy; Gamal. #CAFCC
— KingFut.com (@King_Fut) July 12, 2015
The Red Devils followed an unusual 3-4-2-1 formation, with one defender on the bench. 64-year-old manager Fathi Mabrouk looked to have limited options due to injuries and military service procedures.
Despite keeping the ball all for themselves at times, Ahly didn’t have any real scoring chances, except for one. A Momen Zakaria cross found Ramadan Sobhy, which seemed to be a certain goal, however, the masked youngster misfired.
Following the game’s trend, Stade Malien also inflected almost no danger on Ekramy’s goal; one header right to Ekramy’s gloves and another effort which went way wide, as the first half ended goalless.
The second half started with a bang as Stade Malien striker Cisse hit the post; centimeters away from making it 1-0.
In an attempt to change that zero on the scoreboard, Fathi Mabrouk made an usual substitution by bringing on Mahmoud Trezeguet and Emad Meteb – who scored all his goals under Mabrouk as a substitute – for Ramadan Sobhy and Amr Gamal. A few minutes later, young left-back Hussein El-Sayed replaced Sabri Rahil, injecting stamina into the back four.
An unusual scene was spotted around the 70-minute mark as Sherif Ekramy asked if it was time to break his fast or not, indicated by the Maghreb prayer.
The half ended as it started, with a jaw-dropping goal opportunity for the Malians. Two minutes from the final whistle, Cisse’s header looked like it was on its way to sealing the game’s three points, however, an incredible Sherif Ekramy save kept the game at 0-0.
Al Ahly are now second in Group A with four points. The Cairo giants next face group leaders Étoile du Sahel at home, who defeated Espérance 1-0 on Saturday.