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Saturday, 06 June 2020

Preview: Ahly, Maqassa lock horns in six-pointer clash

Ahly and Maqassa clash in a mouth-watering Egyptian League showdown at Cairo's El-Salam Stadium at 20:00 CLT

Omar Zaazou , Saturday 3 Dec 2016
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Leaders Ahly will be looking to get the better of second-placed Maqassa in a six-pointer clash that will see the Egyptian league rivals lock horns at Cairo's El-Salam Stadium on Sunday.

Ahly and Maqassa went toe-to-toe during the past few weeks as they vied for the summit, with the defending champions currently on top, four points clear of the Fayoum-based side.

Maqassa, however, played a game less, a rescheduled fixture against Zamalek, which if they won the difference would theoretically be a single point at the top of the table.

Ihab Galal's side were particularly impressive this season, winning nine games, losing once and playing out a single draw.

They should be giving Ahly a tough challenge as the Cairo giants bid for a second consecutive league title, a match that will be followed by a series of difficult fixtures for the latter side.

Just four days after facing Maqassa, Ahly will be clashing with another resilient team in Smouha before taking on Enppi, Hossam Hassan's Masry and arch-foes Zamalek in the following three weeks.

And thus Ahly will be hoping for a morale-boosting win on Sunday to continue their winning run, which included two consecutive 3-0 victories over newly-promoted sides Nasr Taadin and Sharqeya in the past two weeks.   

Despite the hype surrounding the game, Ahly football director Sayed Abdel-Hafiz seemed not ready to be taken away by the impact of the fixture's result on his side's title-winning  prospects, stressing that it is just a 'normal' game like all other league matches.

"Maqassa are a very good side with good management in charge, but no matter how important the game is, it's as important as every league game," Abdel-Hafiz said.

"It will be a strong game for sure, but it's not the end of the road anyway, it's a game like every other league game."

Maqassa manager Galal will be sweating on the fitness of attacking midfielder Ahmed El-Sheikh, who bagged eight goals this season, to be fit in time to take part against parent club Ahly, who sent him out on loan.

Ahly, on the other side, have injury problems to address, with midfield duo Hossam Ghaly and Amr El-Sulaya nursing hamstring injuries.

Center-back Rami Rabia, meanwhile, has fully recovered from a nagging knee injury he sustained last season, but manager Hossam El-Badry does not seem quite in a rush to field the Egypt international.

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



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