VIDEO: Maaloul scores, as Lasarte earns first win as Al Ahly manager
Ali Maaloul scored a crucial penalty as Al Ahly returned back to winning ways after a hard-fought 1-0 victory against Smouha.
Following the defeat against Pyramids in his first game in charge, Martín Lasarte has recorded his first victory as Al Ahly’s head coach as the Reds moved up to the third place.
Debutant Geraldo had an immediate impact after 20 seconds only, when he made a rapid run on the right side, before his effort was easily saved by Mohamed Abou-Gabal.
Smouha were on verge of breaking the deadlock in the 12th minute through Oumed Oukri after a scramble between Maaloul and El-Shennawy, but the Ethiopian’s effort was cleared off the line by Salif Coulibaly.
Seven minutes later, Al Ahly were awarded a penalty after a handball against Ahmed Sobhi, Maaloul stepped up and sent Abou-Gabal the wrong way, to put Al Ahly in front.
Three minutes before the half time whistle, Mohamed Mahmoud had a chance to score his first Al Ahly goal, but his long-range shot was saved by Abou-Gabal.
In the second half, Al Ahly struggled to cope up physically with Smouha’s high pressure, and they were forced to remain in their own half, giving the majority of possession to Smouha.
The hosts had a big opportunity to bring the score level in the 70th minute, when Hossam Hassan received the ball behind Al Ahly’s defence but his half-volley went wide.
Three minutes later, Smouha were forced to continue the game with 10 men, after Mahmoud Ezzat pulled back Ramadan Sobhi, who was through on goal.
Al Ahly restored their domination over the game after the red card and Mohamed Sherif had the opportunity to kill the game completely, but his curling effort hit the side netting.
In the second minute of the additional time, Sherif had another golden opportunity to secure the three points after receiving the ball from Nasser Maher in the six-yard box, but his weak effort was saved buy by Abou-Gabal.
One minute later, Ramadan Sobhi was on verge of scoring his first goal in his second spell with Al Ahly, when he went one-on-one with Abou-Gabal, but the Huddersfield’s loanee failed to beat the keeper from close range, to keep the result at 1-0.
The victory sends Al Ahly to third place with 27 points from 14 games, while Smouha stayed in the eighth position with 23 points.