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Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Preview: Ahly seek win against Masry to maintain Egyptian league lead

Ahly, Masry look to return to winning ways in the Egyptian Premier League

Ahmed Abd El Rasoul , Monday 22 Feb 2016
Al Masry's Wilson Akakpo (R) fights for the ball against Al-Ahly's Abdallah Said during their Egyptian Premier League soccer match at El-Gouna stadium in Hurghada January 10, 2015 (Photo: Reuters)
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Ahly will be seeking to extend their lead in the Egyptian Premier League table when they face stiff opponents Masry in a postponed match on Tuesday.

The Reds, whose eight-season hegemony was ended by Cairo rivals Zamalek last term, currently leads the league table with 40 points after 18 matches, five ahead of the Whites, who are second.

Ahly, who are still searching for a new foreign coach, won four successive matches under interim coach Zizo before sharing the spoils in the last two games against Talae El-Geish and Ghazl El-Mahalla.

Under the guidance of former Ahly star Hossam Hassan, Port Said-based club Masry are delivering outstanding performances this season, winning eight matches, drawing in eight and losing in two to earn the fourth place with 32 points.

Both teams will be eyeing to return to winning ways as Masry also drew with Maqassa and Petrojet in the league's last two matches.

Venue tension

Masry will be hosting Ahly at Alexandria's Borg El-Arab Stadium behind closed doors after long arguments about the match venue for security reasons; a fact that negatively affected their preparations to some extent.

Fan tensions between both sides have been on the rise since the infamous 2012 Port Said tragedy, when more than 70 Ahly fans were killed after being attacked by rival Masry supporters following the end of an ill-tempered league game.

Masry, who did not take part in the 2012-13 season to avoid aggravating tensions with Ahly, were ordered by security officials to play all their home and away matches outside Port Said this term.

They have faced Ahly four times since Egypt's worst-ever football disaster. Two matches ended in wins for Ahly while the other two ended in draws.

Ahly will have to do without first-choice goalkeeper Sherif Ekramy and playmaker Walid Soliman due to injury. Strikers Emad Meteb, John Antwi and defender Mohamed Naguib will be also missing for technical reasons.

Zizo, who blamed playing too many successive games and refereeing mistakes for recent draws, said his team will restore the balance against Masry.

On the other side, Masry coach Hossam Hassan, who will be enjoying a full squad against the league leaders, has urged his players to fully concentrate and get a positive result to remain among the top four.

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