Second half substitute Mohamed Sherif, scored deep in injury time to snatch a precious 1-1 draw for defending champions Ahly against Ismaily on Thursday.
The Red Devils, who had a bagful of chances against their visitors but were missing the finishing touch, had fallen behind to Lasaad Jaziri’s goal in the 54th minute and had to fight until a 93rd-minute equalizer by Sherif.
In his third game with the team, recently appointed French coach Patrice Carteron was forced to make four changes to his starting lineup due to injuries.
Islam Mohareb and new comer Nasser Maher were given starters’ roles for the first time instead of Nigerian winger Junior Ajayi and playmaker Walid Soliman, respectively; while midfielder Hesham Mohamed and right-back Mohamed Hani replaced team captain Hossam Ashour and international full-back Ahmed Fathi.
First half domination
Ahly was on top for most of the first half but his players lacked sharpness in front of goal.
The Red Devils had their first chance after 15 minutes when Tunisian left back Ali Maaloul broke into the area from the left but his shot was blocked by veteran keeper Essam El-Hadary from a very tight angle.
Azaro, last season's top scorer, squandered a great scoring opportunity as he beat the offside trap and latched onto a perfect through pass from Maher, but his poor finish was deflected into a corner.
The Moroccan striker was a constant threat to Ismaily’s defence though his final ball was too often astray.
Maher, who was pulling the strings during this first half, dispossessed the ball from defender Mahmoud Metwalli and shot from the edge of the area only to be denied by the post.
On the other side, Ismaily’s greatest chance came from a 20-yard free kick by team captain Hosni Abd-Rabo that went inches next to the post.
Ahly came back after the interval mounting more pressure to grab a goal. But against the run of play, Nader Ramadan burst into Ahly’s defence and set up Jaziri whose low finish beat keeper Mohamed El-Shennawi in the 54th minute.
Carteron made quick substitutions to increase his firepower as he brought in Marwan Mohsen and Mohamed Sherif instead of Maher and Moemen Zakariya.
Sherif could have scored the equalizer from his first touch of the game but his weak shot from inside the box went directly in the hands of El-Hadary.
They kept on pressing until injury time when Sherif, who joined Ahly in January, picked a rebound in the area to tap home from close range.
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