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Sunday, 17 November 2019

Ismaily beat Zamalek to go five points clear in second-place race

Omar Zaazou , Monday 2 Apr 2018
Ismaily and Zamalek (Al-Ahram)
Ismaily and Zamalek (Al-Ahram)
Views: 2039
Views: 2039

Ismaily cemented their position in a Champions League-qualifying second spot after claiming an exciting 3-1 Egyptian league win over rivals Zamalek at Ismailia Stadium on Monday.

In a crunch tie between the second and third of the league standings, it was the Dervishes who eventually grabbed all three points, thanks to goals from Mahmoud Metwalli, Karim Bambo and Ibrahim Hassan on 15, 69 and 87 minutes.

Nigerian Maarouf Yusuf, deployed as a left-back by manager Ehab Galal, managed to equalize on the hour mark, but Zamalek could not find a winning goal as they eventually lost the game.

Zamalek's last victory over Ismaily at Ismailia Stadium came 12 years ago, with the Cairo giants failing to prevail ever since in the coastal city.   

Ismaily are now five points ahead of third-placed Zamalek in second spot on 59 points in a league that was already secured by Ahly with weeks to spare.

Zamalek dominate

Zamalek dominated the majority of the first half, but it was the home side who took the lead through defender Metwalli when he headed a cross from the right unmarked past keeper Ahmed El-Shennawi following a set-piece.

The visitors could have been level seven minutes later through playmaker Ahmed Madbouli, who curiously failed to smash the net from inside the area with the goal gaping.

But Maarouf made sure Zamalek did not strive for long to equalize, slotting home on the rebound from point-blank range to round off an attack initially triggered by the Nigerian.

Ismaily prevail after the break

In a similar fashion to the first half, Ismaily were the first to threaten, breaching Zamalek's high line and breaking clear on several occasions.

Playmaker Hassan, who set up Ismaily's opener, went one on one with keeper El-Shennawi from the right but missed the target after striking from a somewhat difficult angle nine minutes after the restart.

Five minutes later, Hassan squandered another a one-on-one opportunity, but it was the Egypt keeper this time to take credit for the save after managing to stretch himself in front of the Ismaily forward.

With Zamalek manager Galal seemingly fearing danger, the ex-Maqassa boss moved by introducing a third center-back in Islam Gamal to reinforce his defense.

The change hardly paid dividends though, with Ismaily scoring through substitute Bambo, who capitalized on lack of defensive organization from Zamalek to strike past keeper El-Shennawi from inside the area.

Zamalek normally committed men forward in search for the equalizer this time, and striker Bassem Morsi – who enjoyed a fine game – could have indeed headed his side level if it wasn't for a brilliant save from keeper Mohamed Awwad.

The save proved crucial though, with Ismaily killing off the game shortly afterwards when a counter attack was rounded off this time by Hassan, who was found in space on the left hand side of the area before beating keeper El-Shennawi three minutes from time.      

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

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