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Sunday, 22 July 2018

Ahly stroll to Egypt Cup final with 4-0 win to close on domestic double

Hatem Maher , Wednesday 9 Aug 2017
Ahly v Smouha
Ahly's Nigerian forward Junior Ajayi (C) scored and dished out an assist to help his side to a 4-0 victory over Smouha in the Egypt Cup semi-final on Wednesday (Ahram)
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Ahly closed in on their first domestic double in 10 years after a brace from Walid Soliman led them to an impressive 4-0 victory over Smouha in the Egypt Cup semi-final in Alexandria on Wednesday.

Two late goals in the first half from in-form Nigerian forward Junior Ajayi and Soliman put Ahly in command, with Smouha's porous backline struggling to contain a wave of attacks from the league champions.

Soliman was on target again and substitute Saleh Gomaa also scored after a flowing move in the second half to give Ahly a convincing victory following the disappointment of their semi-final loss to Jordan's Al-Faisaly in the Arab Championship last week.

The Cairo giants will make their third consecutive appearance in the Egypt Cup final when they meet Masry, who beat Zamalek 2-0 on Tuesday, later this month.

Ahly last won the secondary domestic competition in 2007 when they defeated perennial rivals Zamalek 4-3 in a thrilling final.

Although Ahly have won 10 league titles in 11 seasons, the Egypt Cup accolade remained elusive. They lost to Zamalek in the 2015 and 2016 finals.

Total dominance 

Winger Ahmed Hamoudi volleyed just wide with the goal at his mercy and Ajayi hit the side netting with a snap shot when well-positioned to score as Ahly laid siege to Smouha's area from the very beginning.

Ajayi made Ahly's dominance count on 38 minutes when he held off his challenger and latched onto a deft pass from Hamoudi to chip the ball over the advancing keeper.

Soliman made it 2-0 two minutes later when he was found by a back-heel pass from Ajayi on the left hand side of the penalty area to rifle an angled shot that took a wicked deflection off a defender and went into the far top corner.

Ahly remained in total control after the break, with Soliman scoring again in the 55th minute when he broke clear after being fed by playmaker Abdallah El-Said to place a low shot between the keeper's legs and into the net.

Gomaa completed the rout 14 minutes from time in superb fashion, exchanging passes with El-Said then playing another one-two with fellow substitute Moemen Zakareya to fire home.

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