Reigning champions Ahly cruised to an easy 2-0 home victory over Alexandria's Ittihad in the Egyptian league at El-Salam Stadium on Thursday.
Playing only their second league game of the season due to their Champions League commitments, goals from Junior Ajayi and Hussein El-Sayed either side of the interval gave Ahly their first win of the season.
Ahly's victory came following Egypt's World Cup qualification for the Russian finals, an achievement that was widely celebrated in the football-mad country who last reached the quadrennial tournament in 1990.
Ahly control, Ajayi score
Ahly retained possession for the majority of the first half and had the lion's share of chances before the break, capitalizing on some poor positioning from the Alexandrians' defenders.
Winger Ahmed Hamoudi could have given Ahly the lead in the sixth minute following a cross from nominal left-winger Ajayi, but an Ittihad defender was quicker to intercept the ball just in front of goal.
Striker Walid Azaro continued to frustrate with his poor finishing, after being played through on goal by talented playmaker Saleh Gomaa, but the Moroccan struck again into the keeper.
Just a couple of minutes of later, Azaro went one on one with keeper El-Hani Soliman, but instead of attempting to shoot on goal, opted to square the ball to Hamoudi who failed to receive an inaccurate pass from the former.
With Ahly dominating, their goal arrived just two minutes from half-time through Ajayi, who notched home after Amr El-Sulaya's initial attempt hit a defender and fell to the Nigerian forward.
El-Sayed's exquisite strike
Ittihad looked to have briefly regrouped after the break, but again the Cairo club were the side to pose threat on goal.
Missing his second of the night, Ajayi struck high on the rebound after Hamoudi was unlucky to see a well-guided header hit the woodwork following Gomaa's delicious cross with the outside of his boot.
But Ahly's second of the night came from an unlikely source of goals, with left-back El-Sayed cutting inside onto his weaker right foot before swerving the ball past the keeper in the 80th minute.
Tunisian midfielder Mohamed Ali Moncer could have pulled one back just a minute later, but saw his effort hit the side-netting as Ahly emerged 2-0 winners.
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