Under-fire striker Marwan Mohsen responded to critics in style, scoring a superb last-gasp goal to give 10-man Ahly a 1-0 victory over Gouna as they returned to winning ways in the Egyptian Premier League on Wednesday.
Although the 31-year-old appeared to mis-control a long ball upfield from keeper Mohamed El-Shennawi, he redeemed himself with a turn and a volley that went into the bottom corner from inside the area.
He celebrated wildly as his teammates surrounded him, having been on the receiving end of stiff criticism from Ahly's demanding fans following another subdued performance in the team's 3-1 Cairo derby loss to Zamalek last Saturday.
Mohsen was particularly mocked for intentionally letting a through pass roll past him in the area against Zamalek, thinking he was offside. Television replays showed that he was actually onside, enraging Ahly's supporters.
Senegalese striker Aliou Badji spearheaded Ahly's attack against Gouna but could not net a decisive winner, with the introduction of Mohsen making the difference after the Red Devils produced another below-par display.
Ahly, who are overwhelming favourites to win a fifth successive league title despite some insipid displays of late, are on top of the table with 59 points, a staggering 17 ahead of nearest challengers Pyramids and Zamalek.
Gouna, who languish fourth from bottom, just one point above the relegation zone, proved stubborn opponents, restricting Ahly to some tame efforts.
Despite being devoid of creativity, Ahly could have still taken a first-half lead, with Badji shooting straight at the keeper from close range early on and playmaker Magdi Afsha firing a low shot against the post on 35 minutes.
However, the 62nd-minute dismissal of Malian midfielder Aliou Dieng for a second bookable offence, following a VAR review, further affected the already sluggish Ahly.
Gouna could have stunned the hosts on 74 minutes when a free kick fell at the feet of the unmarked Islam Mohareb, only for El-Shennawi to block his close-range shot.
El-Shennawi then turned provider with a daring run out of his area and a long ball five minutes into stoppage time, with Mohsen finishing it off to give Ahly a precious victory.
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