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VIDEO: Zamalek beat Al Ahly in league for first time in 11 years

Two first half goals from Kabongo Kasongo and Ayman Hefny gave a 2-1 victory over in the Cairo derby on Thursday night.

This marked Zamalek’s first victory over Al Ahly in the Egyptian Premier League since 2007, when then Al Ahly manager Manuel Jose rested nine players after securing the league title.

Aggressive behaviour from both sides saw Egyptian referee Mohamed El-Hanafy book 10 players during the game, which was held at the Cairo International Stadium.

Zamalek got off to a strong start and were 2-0 up after 21 minutes. Kabongo Kasongo opened the scoring for the White Knights after six minutes as Karim Nedved failed to clear Zamalek’s cross inside the box before the Congolese forward fired a close range shot into the back of Mohamed El-Shennawy’s net.

Al Ahly’s first chance of the game came after 17 minutes when Ayman Ashraf’s header found Saad Samir inside the box. The latter attempted to pass the ball to Marwan Mohsen but the Zamalek defense cleared it.

Zamalek continued to dominate the midfield and four minutes later they made it 2-0. A low cross from Moruf Youssef found Ayman Hefny who fired home to double Zamalek’s lead.

Following the goal, Al Ahly pushed to reduce the deficit and they came close in the 23rd minute but Mohsen’s header went over the bar.

Ten minutes before the break, the White Knights almost scored their third of the night but El-Shennawy pulled off a great save to keep the score at 2-0.

Just before half time, Saad Samir picked up an injury and made way for Mohamed Naguib before Islam Mohareb came on to replace captain Hossam Ashour at the beginning of the second half.

Four minutes after the restart, Al Ahly were close to scoring their first goal of the game. A counter-attack saw Walid Soliman pass the ball to Junior Ajayi but the Nigerian forward’s weak shot was easily saved by Mahmoud Gennesh.

In the 57th minute, new signing Mohamed Antar came on to replace goal-scorer Hefny before Mahmoud Dunga replaced Youssef Obama.

Al Ahly continued to push for a goal and their best chance came just after the hour mark. Mohareb’s effort was denied by the Zamalek defense, who also cleared Mohsen’s effort off the rebound.

The Red Castle’s manager Hossam El-Badry made his last substitution in the 67th minute as Salah Mohsen came on instead of Nedved.

The Red Devils’ pressure paid off as they were awarded a penalty in the 68th minute for a handball against Kasongo. Walid Soliman stepped up and converted from the spot to reduce the deficit.

Al Ahly had a chance to level the scoreline with 15 minutes to go as Mohareb’s pass found substitute Mohsen but Gennesh produced a great save to deny the 19-year-old from equalising. Few minutes later, Marwan Mohsen’s header hit the post as Al Ahly continued to push for an equaliser.

The league champions, however, failed to score a second goal in the remaining minutes to suffer their second league defeat this season. Their focus will now turn to the Egypt Cup, where they’ll face Assiouty Sport in the quarter-final on Monday.

Meanwhile, Zamalek moved temporarily to third place on 61 points, four ahead of Al Masry, who have four games in hand. They will next play against Entag El-Harby in the Cup.

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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