Ahly and Egypt playmaker Abdallah El-Said scored a goal and dished out two assists to lead Ahly to a crucial 3-1 home victory over highly-rated Masry in the Egyptian league on Sunday.
Striker Marwan Mohsen put his side in front early in the game before center-back Saad Samir made it two just a few minutes after the break to make Masry's mission more difficult against the defending champions.
Masry, however, seemed at a certain point close to staging a comeback late in the game when Ahmed Salem reduced the arrears with a header in the 80th minute.
But after the Port-Said side had a penalty shout waved away by the referee, Ahly were awarded a penalty in the dying minutes – with the on-fire El-Said making no mistake from 12 yards to make it three.
Ahly, who managed to emerge unscathed through a difficult run of fixtures including victories over Maqassa, Smouha and now Masry, cemented their position on top of the table with 42 points – eight clear of their closest rivals.
Masry, coached by a manager renowned of continually upsetting Ahly in Hossam Hassan, are third with 31 points, with their six-match winning run coming to a halt.
Just three minutes into the game, Mohsen gave Ahly the lead after latching onto a Abdallah El-Said pass before seeing an underhit strike from inside the area beat Masry keeper Ahmed Mahmoud, who shares a huge part of the responsibility for the concession.
Masry's first chance arrived in the 15th minute after a cross-cum-shot from Ahmed Salem was kept away by keeper Sherif Ekramy.
Five minutes later, Masry seemed to be growing more into the game with Ahmed Gomaa heading wide of the post following a cross from ex-Ahly winger Ahmed Shoukri.
After striker Marwan looked close to doubling his side's lead after cutting inside before hitting wide, Gomaa came even closer to equalize for Masry when a strike from outside the area rattled the bar of keeper Ekramy.
Saad Samir made it two just three minutes into the second half after heading past the keeper following another corner from El-Said for the latter's second assist of the night.
The majority of the half did not witness major action, with the only final minutes of the game bringing late drama - which began with Salem pulling one back for Masry after being found unmarked at the far post to head in goal in the 81st minute.
Just a minute later, Masry had what seemed to be a legitimate penalty appeal turned down after forward Salem had been fouled by Ahly left-back Hussein El-Sayed, with the referee booking the former instead for simulation.
Adding to Hassan's men frustration, Ahly were awarded a penalty just one minute from regular time after the referee had correctly adjudged that the ball to have touched Masry defender Osama El-Azab's arm.
El-Said made no mistake with an excellently executed spot-kick to make it three, putting the game beyond Masry's reach.
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