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Sunday, 24 January 2021

Preview: Ahly have a do-or-die mission against Smouha

An Ahly loss or a draw against Smouha Tuesday would mean an official league win for their arch-rivals Zamalek

Eslam Omar , Monday 27 Jul 2015
Ahly players
Ahly players (Photo: Ahmed Hassan)
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Ahly have no option but to win against Smouha Tuesday if they want to keep their desperate bid for a ninth successive Egyptian Premier League trophy alive.

A win would keep their hopes active temporarily as they wait for arch-rivals Zamalek to suffer an unlikely loss against Talae El-Giesh, a day later.

Zamalek only need a single point from their two remaining games to win their 12th ever trophy- their first since 2004, as they lead the table by six points difference.

An Ahly loss to or even a draw against the Alexandria-based club would mean an official crowning of Zamalek as title-winners, even if they lose against El-Geish and Wadi Degla.

Ahly are hosting Smouha, who are currently the only Egyptian representatives in the African Champions League, in PertoSport stadium at 19:30 Cairo time (GMT +2).

The Cairo giants will have a final test next Tuesday against ENPPI.

Ahly, who started the season under the helms of Spanish manager Juan Carlos Garrido but will finish it led by Fathi Mabrouk, lost five times this season against Ragaa, Ittihad of Alexandia, ENPPI, Arab Contractors and Haras El-Hodoud.

They earned eight draws and 23 victories, collecting 77 points, to secure second place after Zamalek, who won two more matches than the Reds.

Ahly stay above ENPPI - 69 points - on the table.

Ahly have recently gained momentum on the field from two successive and important victories in a week.

A 2-0 league win in the Cairo derby against Zamalek on Tuesday kept their slim league title chances alive. Also a 1-0 victory against Tunisia's Etoile du Sahel on Sunday sent them to the top of Group A in the African Confederation Cup.

In the other camp, Smouha, who survived relegation lately, and are tenth in the table with 50 points from 14 wins and eight draws, have had troubles continentally.

The coastal club were handed their second successive defeat in the African Champion League group stage following a 2-0 home defeat at the hands of TP Mazembe at Alexandra Stadium on Friday. The loss increased the difficulty of their first-time mission in the champion's league after another 2-0 defeat at Sudan’s Helal earlier.

Under the helms of their newly-appointed and formerly successful Ahly coach Mohamed Youssef, Smouha have nothing to lose against Ahly and delivering a good show is something worth-trying.

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

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