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Saturday, 26 September 2020

Ahly one win short of Egyptian league title after 3-0 victory over Ismaily

Three goals from Ali Maaloul, Aliou Badji and Ahmed El-Sheikh put Ahly one win short of a fifth consecutive league triumph

Ahram Online , Friday 11 Sep 2020
Ahly v Ismaily
Ahly crush Ismaily 3-0 in the Egyptian Premier League (Photo: the Egyptian Football Association's Twitter account)
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Ahly put one hand on the Egyptian Premier League trophy after outclassing old rivals Ismaily with a 3-0 win on Friday, moving to within one more victory to win the title for a fifth straight season.

In an action-packed first half dominated by VAR reviews, Tunisian left-back Ali Maaloul put Ahly ahead with an early penalty after a dreadful defensive mistake.

The referee awarded Ahly another penalty, only to change his mind after a VAR review. The technology also had another word before halftime, giving Ismaily a spot-kick that Omar El-Wahsh blasted high over.

The introduction of veteran winger Walid Soliman and Ahmed El-Sheikh after the break made all the difference for Ahly as both combined to set up Senegalese striker Aliou Badji for his fourth goal following his January arrival.

El-Sheikh was also on target after an error from the keeper to give Ahly their biggest victory over Ismaily since they crushed them 4-0 in 2006.

Ahly have 71 points, a massive 22 ahead of nearest challengers Zamalek with only eight matches left to play. Ahly will win the title if they beat Ittihad on Monday but they can be crowned champions one day earlier if Zamalek lose to El-Entag El-Harbi.

Ismaily, whose new Brazilian coach Ricardo should take the reins in their next game, dropped to 10th in the table on 30 points.

Early penalty

Maaloul sent the keeper the wrong way from the spot as early as the fifth minute as Badji was tripped by the keeper after intercepting a poor back pass from Mohamed Ammar in the area.

Ismaily then had the upper hand, moving the ball around well and unsettling Ahly's rearguard with some good work down the flanks.

They spurned three goal-scoring chances in the first half, with winger Mohamed El-Shami missing the target with a side-footed effort after escaping his marker, Benson Shilongo hitting wide with only the keeper to beat after holding off his challenger and El-Wahsh blasting a penalty high over on the stroke of halftime.

But Ismaily were pegged back in a second half Ahly dominated, with the Red Devils easily securing the win.

Playmaker Magdi Afsha arrowed a free kick against the woodwork on 51 minutes before Badj made amends with a superb effort 10 minutes later.

Persistent efforts from Soliman saw him win the ball and feed El-Sheikh, whose one-touch pass on the edge of the area found Badji to trick his marker and plant a powerful shot into the corner of the net.

El-Sheikh turned to scorer on 72 minutes to end the match as a contest after a terrible mistake from keeper Mohamed Magdi, who let a tame free kick slip out of his grasp to leave the winger with an easy tap-in into an empty net.

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

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