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VIDEO: Crisis-hit Ahly ease woes with 3-2 derby win over Zamalek

Ahly managed to make for their faltering season with a much-needed title after overcoming archrivals Zamalek to claim the Egypt Super Cup

Omar Zaazou, Thursday 15 Oct 2015
Ahly players
Ahly players (Photo: Ahram Sport)
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A crisis-hit Ahly side edged out Zamalek 3-2 in an engrossing Egypt Super Cup affair to ease pressure on their beleaguered board following a thrilling clash at the UAE's Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium.

Egyptian League and Cup champions Zamalek took a first-half lead through Omar Gaber, before Ahly's Abdallah El-Saied restored parity on the stroke of half time from the spot.

Ahly then were in front just eight minutes into the second half through El-Saied again, who converted another penalty before substitute Moemen Zakareya made it 3-1 in the 69th minute.

After a nearly 10-minute stoppage time due to a scuffle between Zamalek and Ahly players, which saw the referee leave the pitch in an acrimonious manner before returning again, Mahmoud Kahraba managed to narrow the gap in the last minutes of the game.

Egyptian League runners-up Ahly, who lost the Egypt Cup final to their arch-rivals barely a month ago, needed direly a single title to make for their faltering season, after being dumped out of the CAF Confederation Cup at the hands of South Africa's Orlando Pirates.

Their African debacle in particular saw the Ahly board come under immense criticism, as they were forced to sack manager Fathi Mabrouk shortly after renewing his contract.

But it wasn't the end of problems faced by the under-fire board, with the decision to appoint Portuguese manager Jose Peseiro for the new season not going down well with the club's faithful.

Following the dismissal of Mabrouk, Ahly had to recruit Abdel-Aziz Abdel-Shafi 'Zizo' on an interim basis as he took charge of the team against Zamalek in the Super Cup.

Two penalties

After Gabon striker Malick Evouna squandered an easy chance in the 18th minute, it was Gaber's turn to spurn another golden opportunity for his side after going one-on-one with keeper Sherif Ekramy.

But Gaber made no mistake on his following attempt, pouncing on a loose ball inside the box before striking past the keeper from inside the area for the opener of the night.

Zamalek then had the chance to double their lead when red-hot forward Mahmoud 'Kahraba' was awarded a penalty after skipping past right-back Ahmed Fathi inside the box.

Kahraba, however, failed to make the most of the spot kick, seeing his effort blocked by keeper Ekramy to waste a second goal that could have largely tipped the balance in Zamalek's favour.

And with the Zamalek fans waiting for the referee to blow the half-time whistle to go into half-time taking the lead, it was another spot kick that brought the game back to square one.

Converted left-back Hamada Tolba was adjudged to have fouled Ramadan Sobhi inside the box, as the referee pointed to the spot.

El-Saied made no mistake sending Egypt keeper Ahmed El-Shennawi the wrong way to draw his side level just before half time.

Ugly scuffle

Things did not go any better for the Zamalek faithful after the break, and it was a rash challenge from Burkina Faso defender Mohamed Koffi, who replaced the injured Ali Gabr, on Walid Soliman that gave the Reds another penalty.

With the same calmness, El-Saied converted another penalty in similar fashion to the equaliser to give his side the lead.

The game started to grow tense at this point, with Zamalek striving to equalise but the tense atmosphere culminated in an ugly scuffle between both sets of players after Sobhi infamously stood on the ball in a deriding manner to the opponents.

The match was then suspended for 10 minutes, with the referee bizarrely leaving the pitch before returning again after things had seemingly calmed down.

And it was during that lengthy stoppage time that Zamalek managed to narrow the gap, when midfielder Omar Gaber played a lovely lofted through ball for Kahraba who dinked the ball over Ekrami.

But it was too little too late as Ahly claimed a much-needed title to ease the pressure on their under-fire board.   

Zamalek vs. Ahly goals in the Egypt Super Cup

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