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Tuesday, 02 March 2021

One-time champions Ghazl El-Mahalla back to Premier League after 4-year absence

Ahram Online , Tuesday 13 Oct 2020
Ghazl El-Mahalla
(Photo:Al-Ahram)
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Ghazl El-Mahalla, one of only seven clubs to have won the Premier League, returned to the elite competition on Tuesday after a four-year absence.

Located in an industrial Nile Delta town, Mahalla earned promotion to the top flight after defeating Olympic of Alexandria 2-1 in the final matchday of the second division to top their group with 47 points, two clear of second-placed Pharco.

Mahalla, one-time league winners in 1973, lost their place among the elite in 2016 after finishing the season at the bottom with only 13 points from 34 games.

The club, whose famous light blue, striped jersey earned them the nickname "Egypt's Argentina", were one of the country's football powerhouses in the 1970s, reaching the final of the African Cup in 1974.

They were known for proving stubborn opponents to Cairo's leading clubs Ahly and Zamalek, especially at their Mahalla fortress -- a stadium famous for its close proximity to the huge chimneys of the city's textile factory. 

In 2002, they held Ahly to a 1-1 home draw in the penultimate round of the season to deny the Red Devils the league title, which was won by Ismaily. However, they suffered a decline in the past decade due to recurring financial difficulties. 

On Monday, the National Bank of Egypt (NBE) football club also booked their place in the Premier League for the first time.

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

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