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Preview: Ahly aim to bounce back after two disappointing results

Ahram Online , Tuesday 19 Dec 2017
Ahly
Ahly were held to a 1-1 draw by Tanta in their previous Egyptian Premier League game (Ahram)
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A depleted Ahly side will be looking bounce back from two disappointing results when they face Alexandria-based club Smouha in the Egyptian Premier League on Wednesday.

The Red Devils, who are eyeing a third consecutive league title, made a superb start to the season after chalking up eight wins in their first nine matches before a sudden slump in form saw them fail to win for two straight games.

They suffered a 3-2 defeat by last season's runners-up Maqassa in an exciting affair before being held to a 1-1 draw by lowly Tanta, sparking talks of a mini crisis.

However, coach Hossam El-Badry said he was confident Ahly would be the eventual champions although he admitted his side must be more clinical in front of goal.

Smouha, who are seventh in the table with 19 points from 13 games, are struggling for consistency this term.

Should Ahly win, they will close to within two points of leaders Ismaily, who were held to a 1-1 draw by Talae El-Geish on Tuesday, and with the advantage of having two matches in hand. 

"The experience of the players will help them shrug off this difficult period and return to winning ways," Ahly's assistant coach Sayed Moawad, a former Egyptian international left-back, told reporters.

"The players are enthusiastic and ready to make it up for their fans. We still have the best chance to win the title."

Ahly will have to do without a host of regular players though, including central defensive duo Saad Samir and Rami Rabia who are still nursing injuries.

Moroccan striker Walid Azaro, their top scorer with seven goals, and central midfielder Amr El-Sulaya were also left out of the squad due to injuries.

With little options upfront, El-Badry may field Nigerian deep-lying forward Junior Ajayi as a solitary striker.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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