Although Ahly secured a share of spoils with a last-gasp goal against Ismaily in their Egyptian Premier League opener on Thursday, coach Patrice Carteron believed his side should have run out winners.
The defending champions needed a stoppage-time opportunist goal from substitute Mohamed Sherif, one of the fresh faces introduced by Carteron, to secure a 1-1 draw against bitter foes Ismaily and avoid an opening defeat.
But Ahly will still rue what could have been should they have converted several goal-scoring chances in a first-half they dominated, before Ismaily punished their wastefulness with a second-half goal.
"We deserved to win. Ismaily created a single goal-scoring chance, from which they scored their only goal," Frenchman Carteron told the post-match news conference.
"I'm pleased that our pressure eventually counted with the equaliser, but we still had a good chance to win in the first half. We will work on improve our finishing in the coming matches."
After falling behind, Ahly relied on repeated long balls to attacking duo Walid Azaro and Marwan Mohsen to restore parity. One of these hopeful balls resulted in the precious equaliser, to the surprise of Ismaily's Algerian coach Kheireddine Madoui.
"Ahly's strategy of sending long balls upfield really surprised me. I did not expect that Ahly would play this way," Madoui said after Ismaily were denied their first league win over their illustrious opponents in eight years.
"We were playing very well but our defence could not cope with the pressure and we were also lucky not to concede in the first half."
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