Ahly and Ittihad El-Shorta produced a glut of goals for the second time in less than three months as the Egyptian Premier League leaders went nine points clear on top with a 5-3 win in an exciting clash at Cairo's Petrosport Stadium on Sunday.
The previous time both sides met Ahly prevailed with a 7-3 victory in January and they looked on course for a clean sheet this time around when they led 4-0 with a header from Moemen Zakareya, a rare brace from defensive midfielder Ahmed Fathi and an own goal from Mohamed Abdel-Salam.
But El-Shorta threatened a stirring comeback with three goals. Salah Rico converted a penalty just before the break and substitute Abdoulaye Cisse scored twice in seven second-half minutes as the modest third-from-bottom side went close to an unthinkable comeback.
Lone striker Amr Gamal, who was an otherwise peripheral figure, ensured Ahly's win on 78 minutes with a simple tap-in after brilliant individual work from teenager Ramadan Sobhi, who is one of the team's best performers this season.
Ahly, who are eyeing a ninth league title in 10 seasons, are on top with 50 points. Nearest challengers and Cairo rivals Zamalek will be looking to beat Ismaily on Monday to trim the gap back to six points.
Winger Zakareya put Ahly ahead on 17 minutes with a far-post header following a cross from left-back Hussein El-Saied and Fathi doubled their lead five minutes later with a powerful low shot from the edge of the area.
Set-pieces specialist Abdallah El-Said had a penalty saved by El-Shorta keeper Amr Hossam but Ahly made amends on 44 minutes when Abdel-Salam put the ball into his own net with a volley while trying to clear a cross before it reaches Amr Gamal.
Fathi made it 4-0 with another precise low shot after a clever dummy from playmaker Ramadan Sobhi as Ahly appeared on course for a comprehensive win.
However, Rico converted a penalty at the other end just before the half-time whistle and El-Shorta came on with all guns blazing after the restart, with Cisse continuing an attempted fight-back with an impressive display.
His poaching abilities were in full force after he further narrowed the gap with a close-range header after being found unmarked by a mis-hit first-timer, before pouncing on a dreadful mistake from Ahly skipper Hossam Ghaly, a veteran Egyptian international, to add the third for El-Shorta on 57 minutes.
Ghaly's short pass across the field was intercepted by a forward who fed Cisse with an astute pass, with the Burkinabe beating Ahly keeper Ahmed Adel at his near post with a snap shot.
However, El-Shorta's hopes were killed off 12 minutes from time when the in-form Sobhi bamboozled his challenger inside the area, held off a couple of defenders and crossed low to Gamal for an easy tap-in into an empty net.
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