Defending champions Ahly laboured to a 2-1 victory over Ittihad El-Shorta in their first Egyptian Premier League match following a lengthy stoppage due to January’s revolution.
The Red Devils went ahead after four minutes when Mohamed Shawky capitalized on a mistake from El-Shorta keeper Mohamed Khalaf to head home a free kick.
Mohamed El-Fayoumi brought El-Shorta level nine minutes after the interval but classy playmaker Mohamed Abou-Treika, who reached the league’s 100-goal milestone in January, converted a dubious penalty on 61 minutes to seal Ahly’s win.
It was the team’s first win after Portuguese tactician Jose returned to lead them for a third spell in January following two-hugely successful stints at the helm.
Jose’s first match in charge ended in a 1-1 draw with promoted Maqassa, few days before the eruption of a popular uprising that toppled former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and led to the suspension of the league for more than two months.
Ahly, who eye a seventh consecutive league crown, moved into third spot in the table with 29 points, three short of leaders Zamalek who could restore their six-point advantage over their arch-rivals if they beat Harras El-Hodoud on Thursday.
Ittihad El-Shorta, who aim to play African football next season, are fourth on 26 points.
Ahly needed four minutes to open the scoring following a blunder by El-Shorta keeper Mohamed Khalaf.
Khalaf’s mis-timed jump allowed defensive midfielder Shawky to rise and head home a deep free-kick by right-back Ahmed Fathi.
El-Shorta had the better possession afterwards and could have restored parity on 20 minutes when Ahly sweeper Hossam Ghaly was robbed inside the area but Reda El-Azab mis-hit his shot from close range.
A sluggish Ahly side had a sole chance to double their advantage before the break but a weak shot by Mauritania striker Dominique Da Silva did not trouble Khalaf following a fine individual effort.
El-Shorta deservedly levelled the score on 54 minutes when a curling free-kick by energetic midfielder El-Fayoumi went over the wall and past Ahly keeper Ahmed Adel, who was too slow to act.
Ahly’s veteran midfielder Mohamed Barakat replaced Da Silva to inject much-needed pace into the team and the substitution paid off on the hour mark.
The former Egyptian international burst into the area and was felled by El-Shorta’s El-Azab as the referee instantly pointed to the spot. Television replays showed there was minimal contact between both players.
Abou-Treika stepped up to send Khalaf the wrong way and restore Ahly’s lead.
El-Shorta’s El-Fayoumi was unlucky to see a header come off the bar as Ahly held on to bag all three points.