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Wednesday, 30 September 2020

Egypt's Ahly stunned by home loss to Jordan's Faisaly in Arab Championship

Hatem Maher , Saturday 22 Jul 2017
Ahly
Egypt's Ahly slump to a 1-0 loss to Al-Faisaly of Jordan in their first game at the Arab Championship in Cairo on Saturday (Photo: Ahmed Aref)
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Egyptian giants Ahly paid the price of a dreadful defensive blunder to suffer a stunning 1-0 home defeat by Jordan's Al-Faisaly in their opening game of the Arab Championship in Cairo on Saturday.

Although the Red Devils played with a second-string side, they were notably better for most of the match at Al-Salam Stadium but were undone by a goal from Yusuf Al-Rawashdeh 10 minutes after the interval.

He pounced on a botched defensive pass by Mohamed Naguib intended for Ahly's goalkeeper to slot home the winner and stun the home crowd.

In the other Group A match earlier in the day, Algeria's NA Hussein Dey kicked off their campaign with a 2-0 victory over UAE side Al-Wahda, thanks to first-half goals from Ahmed Gasmi and Toufik Addadi.

Ahly will be looking to recover from the opening loss when they face Al-Wahda on Tuesday.

The winners of each of the three groups will advance to the semis along with the best second-placed side.

Key players rested

Ahly rested a host of key players, including first-choice goalkeeper Sherif Ekramy, versatile defender Ahmed Fathi, playmaker Abdallah El-Said and defensive midfielder Hossam Ashour.

They had the lion's share of possession in the first half and laid siege to Al-Faisaly's area, although clear-cut chances remained scarce.

Their best chance came after 10 minutes when winger Mido Gaber, who is linked with a summer move away from the club, broke clear in the left hand side of the penalty area but blasted his shot over the crossbar.

Ahly also had a goal disallowed for offside on the stroke of halftime when Karim Walid, another winger who is struggling to win over the team's fans, placed a low shot between the legs of the keeper after being fed by right-back Bassem Ali.

Their relentless pressing continued in the early stages of the second half but they were caught by surprise in the 55th minute when Naguib's pass across his own area was intercepted by Al-Rawashdeh, who made no mistake with a simple finish.

Ahly were lucky not to fall 2-0 down three minutes later when a deflected shot on the turn was superbly tipped over by keeper Mohamed El-Shennawi.

Moroccan forward Walid Azaro made his debut after coming on in the second half and his pace unsettled Al-Faisaly's defence in the latter stages, although Ahly could not find an equalizer.

Their best effort was wasted by midfielder Amr El-Sulaya, whose weak close-range header was handled by the keeper just before it reaches Nigerian forward Junior Ajayi.

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