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Thursday, 23 May 2019

Ahly close gap on leading duo with hard-fought 2-1 win in Egyptian league

Hatem Maher , Tuesday 5 Feb 2019
Ahly
(Photo: Al-Ahram)
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Ahly closed the gap further on the leading duo with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Enppi after surviving a late scare in a re-arranged Egyptian Premier League game on Tuesday.

The Red Devils looked to be cruising to an easy win, thanks to goals from defender Ayman Ashraf and in-form Nigerian striker Junior Ajayi either side of the interval, but a late header from Enppi's Mahmoud Kaoud forced an exciting finale.

Enppi, who finished with ten men after having substitute Ahmed Refaat dismissed for two bookings in quick succession, celebrated wildly after scoring again in stoppage time but Rami Sabri's volley from a free-kick was chalked off for a marginal offside.

Ahly's run of four consecutive victories saw them close the gap on second-placed Pyramids, who played four matches more, to six points. They are also nine points behind Zamalek with a game in hand over their bitter rivals.

Enppi, who extended their winless run to three matches, lie 13th in the 18-team table on 21 points, on level with the last team in the relegation zone.

Ahly dominance 

The hosts had the first effort when a shot from ex-Ahly winger Ahmed Shoukry was clawed away by the keeper but the Red Devils quickly assumed their control, although clear-cut chances were scarce.

After laying siege to Enppi's area for long periods, Ashraf broke the deadlock in the 73rd minute when a corner caused mayhem in the area and he pounced to swivel and drill the ball home from six yards out.

Midfielder Karim Walid, who scored twice in Ahly's 5-0 African Champions League rout of Tanzania's Simba on Saturday, spurned a golden chance to make it 2-0 on the stroke of halftime when he headed over the bar after being found unmarked by a floated cross from Hussein El-Shahat.

Ahly maintained their dominance after the break and manage to double their lead in the 54th minute when El-Shahat's lofted pass found Geraldo on the right hand side of the area, with the new Angolan recruit crossing low for Ajayi to fire home.

Substitute Salah Mohsen fired high over with the goal at his mercy after breaking clear and Ahly were forced to endure some nervy moments in the latter stages when Enppi halved the deficit 10 minutes from time.

Kaoud met Amr El-Halawani's inswinging corner with a glancing header after beating Ashraf in the air, with keeper Mohamed El-Shennawi too slow to react.

Refaat's dismissal for appearing to make fun of the referee's decision to give him a yellow card could have ended Enppi's hopes but they looked barely affected as they pushed forward in search of a precious equaliser.

However, Ahly breathed a sigh of relief after the linesman raised his flag as Sabri headed home.

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

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