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Sunday, 17 February 2019

Holders Ahly beat Masry to claim first win of season in Egyptian league

Hatem Maher , Tuesday 7 Aug 2018
File photo of Ahly's Malian defender Salif Coulibaly (Ahram)
Views: 1764
Views: 1764

Reigning champions Ahly passed an early tough test in the Egyptian Premier League after beating Masry 2-0 in Alexandria on Tuesday for their first victory of the season, thanks to goals from Salif Coulibaly and Walid Azaro.

Malian defender Coulibaly, a summer arrival who is proving a handful for opponents with his aerial prowess, opened the scoring with an early bullet header, less than two weeks after he netted in a vital 1-0 African Champions League win at Botswana's Township Rollers.  

Moroccan marksman Azaro, the league's top scorer last season with 18 goals, made sure of the win with a 73rd-minute poacher's goal as Ahly made up for a 1-1 draw against Ismaily in the competition's opener last week.

Ahly are joint leaders with Cairo rivals Zamalek and Dakhleya on four points. Masry are eighth on three points from two games.

The Red Devils' high-pressing game in the early stages caused constant menace to Masry's rearguard, which also struggled to deal with some pinpoint crosses from Tunisian left-back Ali Maaloul.

They deservedly took the lead after 11 minutes when Coulibaly rose above his marker and glanced a header past Masry keeper Ahmed Masoud, who looked shaky throughout, following a deep cross from Maaloul.

Ahly kept Masry's defence on its toes with their intricate passing game but Masry improved as the match wore on, with their lively winger Eslam Eissa wasting a couple of half-chances with his trademark cuts inside his markers and curling shots.

The best chance for Masry came on the stroke of halftime when lone striker Mahmoud Wadi made a marauding run from the halfway line, outpaced Coulibaly and forced a brilliant save from Egyptian international keeper Mohamed El-Shennawi with a chipped effort.

At the other end, Walid Soliman could have made it 2-0 for Ahly when he spotted Masoud off his line and sent a lob from the edge of the area that narrowly missed the target.

Masry pushed forward in the second half to restore parity but found it hard to create goal-scoring chances despite the introduction of another striker and an attacking midfielder.

It was Ahly who were dangerous on the break and they were helped by an injury that Masry's Islam Salah picked up, leaving his side to play with ten men for 20 minutes after all three substitutions were made.

Azaro mis-hit his kick with the goal at his mercy after a shot was parried into his path but he made amends in the 73rd minute to put the result beyond doubt.

Masry's Mohamed Shatta failed to clear an innocuous pass and the ball fell to the lurking Azaro who made no mistake with the outside of his foot.

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


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