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Sunday, 22 October 2017

Five talking points from this week's Egyptian League: El-Said, Bance in scoring mood, Zamalek draw a blank

Highlights from the fourth matchday of the Egyptian Premier League

Karim Farouk , Sunday 1 Oct 2017
Egypt
Masry striker Aristide Bance (L) and Zamalek striker Bassem Mors (R) (Photo: Al-Ahram)
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El-Said's scoring spree

El-Entag El-Harby striker Omar El-Said bagged a brace to help his side to a 2-0 win over Ragaa and move to the top of the scorers' chart with five goals in four games. The 27-year-old met a low cross with right-foot volley before securing the victory after finishing off a breakaway with a far-post effort. El-Said had made his mark early in the season, scoring in the opening game against Zamalek in a 1-1 draw after dancing past defenders on the edge of the box to fire a low drive past keeper Ahmed El-Shennawi. He scored in his team's 2-2 away draw against Talae El-Gaish, netted the winner against Maqassa in a 1-0 victory and added two more to his tally against Ragaa.

With each goal he scores he sparks speculation over his future and whether El-Entag El-Harby can keep their star player, given that it is always hard to resist the overtures of Cairo giants Ahly or Zamalek or the financial power of other clubs such as Smouha, Enppi and Maqassa.

Bance: a beast in the air

A 1.93-metres tall, Masry striker Aristide Bance has shown that there are not so many defenders who can challenge him when he towers. The Burkina Faso international headed home twice in Masry's 4-0 thrashing of Talae El-Gaish. He could have completed a hat-trick but a third header was denied by the bar, falling into the path of Ahmed Gomaa who easily slotted home for the fourth goal.

Now 33, Bance is neither as energetic nor fast as he was in his prime but he makes full use of his height and strong physique to be an imposing target man, causing constant menace to opponents. He joined Masry late in the pre-season but has become their top scorers with three goals in four games so far.

Arab Contractors show personality

For the second week in a row, Arab Contractors managed to overturn their deficit and snatch late victories. The Mountain Wolves came back from a goal down against Al-Nasr to claim a 2-1 win, courtesy of second half-goals from in-form forward Mohamed Farouk (82) and an own goal from Ismael Sanogo (90). Last week, they came from behind twice to secure a precious 3-2 victory over Ittihad of Alexandria.

The 1983 champions are on top of the table with 10 points after four games. "It was another important victory that will boost our chances to finish in the top four," striker Mohamed "Gedo" Nagy, a former Egypt and Ahly player, said after the game.

Zamalek draw a blank

Zamalek failed to score for the first time this season as they were held by a solid Enppi side to a scoreless draw. The Whites dominated possession but lacked efficiency upfront against a well-organized defence. However, striker Bassem Morsi, who has yet to reach the heights of his previous three seasons at Zamalek, could have grabbed the winner but his weak second-half spot kick was blocked by keeper Ali Lotfi.

"We should stand by our striker Morsi. I am not satisfied with the result but I have full confidence in my players. We need more time to foster harmony between the players," coach Nebojsa Jovovic said after the game.

With the Montenegrin tactician deploying Tarek Hamed, Mohamed Ashraf and Ahmed Daouda in midfield, the team lacked creativity and wingers Abdallah Gomaa and Ahmed Madbouli had to drop deeper, leaving Morsi isolated upfront. Jovovic may consider a switch to a more attacking approach from the current 4-3-3 formation to a 4-2-3-1 system especially that gifted playmaker Ayman Hefni can provide the spark Zamalek need to translate their dominance to goals.

Ragaa ring changes

The newly promoted side have already appointed a new manager after just four games. Former Egypt and Ahly defender Emad Al-Nahas has taken charge of Ragaa, replacing Khaled El-Kamash. The Matrouh-based team have endured a disastrous start to the season, losing all three games and conceding 7 goals, scoring none.

"It is obvious the team has big troubles that need time and effort to correct. Luckily, we are on a break now due to international matches so we have some space to work on our problems and hopefully we will be better when the league resumes," Al-Nahas said.

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

 
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