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VIDEO: Holders Al Ahly held to draw by El-Gaish in league opener

Tala'a El-Gaish hold Al Ahly to a 1-1 draw in league opener
Title-holders Al Ahly were held to a 1-1 draw by in their Egyptian Premier League opener at El-Salam Stadium on Sunday.

Salah Amin had an early chance to open the scoring for El-Gaish following Mahmoud Hamad’s cross but his fourth-minute effort went over. Four minutes later, Al Ahly had their first chance on goal, however, Walid Soliman’s powerful shot was saved by El-Gaish keeper Mohamed Bassam.

Bassam produced another crucial save as he denied left-back Hussein El-Sayed around the 15-minute mark to keep the game goalless.

Ten minutes before the break, El-Gaish were awarded a penalty for an alleged handball on midfielder Amr El-Sulaya and Assem Salah converted from the spot to give his side a 1-0 lead.

Four minutes later, the Red Devils had a penalty appeal waved away after Abdallah El-Said was fouled by Bassam inside the box as the first half ended with a 1-0 advantage for El-Gaish.

Al Ahly manager Hossam El-Badry made his first substitution during halftime as he brought on young striker Ahmed Yasser Rayan to replace Walid Soliman.

The Cairo giants started to pile pressure on their opponents after the restart and their efforts paid off quickly as Ahmed El-Sheikh scored the equaliser. The 2016/17 top scorer, who spent the past season on loan at Misr El-Maqassa, scored with a superb free-kick 10 minutes after the break.

In an attempt to bolster their attack, El-Badry brought on Ahmed Hamdy instead of Hossam Ashour before making his last substitution 12 minutes from time, with Islam Mohareb coming on for goal scorer El-Sheikh.

The Red Devils continued to threaten offensively and had another penalty appeal for handball waved away. Moroccan striker Walid Azarou and second half substitute Hamdy also had chances to give the title-holders the lead but their headers went over the bar.

Al Ahly continued to maintain pressure in the injury time but failed to score the winner to lose two points after being held to a 1-1 draw.

Editor-in-Chief at Pursuing a master's degree in sport policy, management and international development at the University of Edinburgh.

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