Recently-crowned champions Ahly remained unbeaten in the Egyptian Premier League after a superbly-taken double from out-of-favour playmaker Saleh Gomaa gave them a 4-2 away win over Smouha in an exciting game on Friday.
Despite fielding a second-string side, Ahly were the dominant side throughout the match, which took place at Alexandria's Borg El-Arab Stadium.
Gomaa, often criticized for his disciplinary problems, opened the scoring after 16 minutes when he met a left-wing cross with a sublime firs-time volley that left the keeper with no chance.
A blunder by right-back Bassem Ali, who gave away possession on the edge of the area, gifted Smouha an equalizer nine minutes later when winger Islam Mohareb collected a defence-splitting pass and scored on the second attempt after his initial effort was blocked by keeper Sherif Ekramy.
Attacking midfielder Moemen Zakareya restored Ahly’s lead on 33 minutes when he deceived the keeper with a smart finish from a tight angle when the latter anticipated a cross before Gomaa increased the gap with a a 69th-minute goal.
He ran onto a through pass from substitute Walid Soliman, rounded the guardian and slotted into an empty net from a narrow angle.
Gomaa’s double could prompt coach Hossam El-Badry to give him more chances to prove his worth after he was constantly vilified by the press for his partying lifestyle.
El-Sayed Farid converted a penalty in the 77th minute to give Smouha a lifeline but a near-post header from substitute defender Rami Rabia following an inviting corner from Walid Soliman ensured Ahly’s win with one minute remaining.
Ahly, who won the title with four matches to spare following a 2-2 draw with nearest challengers Maqassa in their previous match, have 79 points and have not tasted defeat in 31 matches.
Smouha are fifth on 51 points and virtually lost hopes of finishing third, the position which qualifies for the African Confederation Cup, the continent’s secondary club competition.
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