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Tuesday, 01 December 2020

Preview: Ahly in festive mood, Fathi set for swansong in final Egyptian league game

Ahly will be presented with the Egyptian Premier League trophy following their game against Talae El-Geish on Saturday

Ahram Online , Friday 30 Oct 2020
Ahmed Fathi
Ahmed Fathi to play his last game for Ahly against Talae El-Geish on Saturday (File photo: the player's Instagram account)
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Champions Ahly will put their hands on the Egyptian Premier League trophy in a festive atmosphere against Talae El-Geish in the final game of the season on Saturday while veteran right-back Ahmed Fathi will bid farewell to the club.

The Red Devils were crowned champions for a fifth straight season with six rounds to spare last month but can only celebrate with the trophy on the final day of the season.

They are in a buoyant mood, not just because of their customary league triumph but also because they edged closer to a long-awaited African Champions League triumph, having reached the final with an emphatic 5-1 aggregate win over Morocco's Wydad earlier this month.

Ahly are still in with a chance of a treble for the first time since 2006, with new coach Pitso Mosimane raising expectations after the team displayed an entertaining brand of football under his guidance.

The only downside to Saturday's celebration would be the departure of the long-serving Fathi, an unyielding full-back and one of the mainstays of Ahly for over 13 years.

The 35-year-old has opted not to extend his deal, which will run out on Saturday, as he agreed a switch to the big-spending Pyramids.

Unlike winger Ramadan Sobhi, who surprisingly turned down Ahly's offer to make his loan deal permanent in the summer and joined Pyramids, Fathi was hailed by the team's demanding fans as a loyal player who gave his all until the final day at the club.

Fathi has fond memories of his games against El-Geish. In 2009, he famously scored a stoppage-time goal against the club in the final match of the season to help Ahly to a crucial win that denied rivals Ismaily a league triumph.

The Cairo giants then went on to beat Ismaily in a playoff and clinch the title.

Mosimane was expected to rest his key players against El-Geish but the postponement of the Champions League final to 27 November might prompt him to change his mind.

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

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