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Monday, 24 June 2019

Imperious Ahly on verge of Egyptian league triumph after 2-1 win

Hatem Maher , Saturday 24 Feb 2018
Ahly
File photo of Ahly (Reuters)
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Ahly moved within touching distance of a third straight Egyptian Premier League title after a late goal from Junior Ajayi gave them a 2-1 win over El-Entag El-Harby at Cairo Stadium on Saturday.

The Nigerian forward atoned for an earlier stunning miss when he drilled home on the rebound with 13 minutes remaining as the irresistible Red Devils grabbed a 13th consecutive victory to move a step closer towards retaining their title.

Winger Ahmed Hamoudi, who was taken off before halftime after picking up an injury, put Ahly ahead after 10 minutes with a fine chip but Khaled Kamar converted a penalty signaled by the additional assistant referee to restore parity a few minutes later.

Ajayi made Ahly's pressure count after a flurry of missed chances as the Cairo giants moved within five points from wrapping up their 40th league title.

They are on top of the table with 69 points, a massive 21 ahead of second-placed Zamalek with eight matches remaining before the end of the season.

In an action-packed first half, Hamoudi gave Ahly the lead after 10 minutes with a delicate first-timer that flew over the keeper and into the net after a superb long ball from defensive midfielder Hossam Ashour.

Kamar leveled the score three minutes later, sending Ahly keeper Mohamed El-Shennawi the wrong way from the spot after the referee adjudged defender Ayman Ashraf to have blocked a header with a flailing arm, although television replays were inconclusive as to whether there was a contact with the ball.

Ahly went close to restoring their lead with two headers from Moroccan striker Walid Azaro and newly-arrived forward Salah Mohsen while a Kamar sliding effort was blocked by El-Shennawi from close range at the other end.

The Red Devils were guilty of some glaring misses in the second half as they assumed total control.

A volley from Walid Soliman, who replaced the injured Hamoudi, struck the woodwork in the 48th minute before Ajayi fired over the bar from two yards out with the goal gaping in a miss-of-the-season contender.

Azaro was also thwarted by the keeper in a one-on-one and a Mohsen effort flew over the crossbar with the goal at his mercy as Ahly laid siege to El-Entag area.

The pressure finally paid off in the 77th minute when Ajayi sent a left-foot shot into the corner of the net after a fierce drive from Amr El-Sulaya was parried by the keeper into his path.

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

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