Ahly take giant stride towards Egyptian league title with late win over Ismaily
Hatem Maher , Tuesday 30 Jan 2018


Imperious Ahly scored in stoppage time to beat nearest challengers Ismaily 1-0 and take a giant stride towards a third consecutive Egyptian Premier League title on Tuesday.

Substitute Walid Soliman ended Ismaily's resistance with a diving header one minute into stoppage time as Ahly capped their dominance with a well-deserved victory to close on an 11th league triumph in the last 12 editions.

The title is Ahly's to lose after an unstoppable run of seven straight wins saw them increase their lead over Ismaily at the top of the league table to nine points with a game in hand over their bitter foes.

Ismaily, playing their first match under caretaker coach Mohsen Abou-Greisha, continue to stutter following the sudden departure of French boss Sebastien Desabre last month.

Desabre's successor Abou-Taleb El-Essawi resigned from his post last week, less than a month after taking over. Ismaily extended their winless run to five matches.

Superb saves

Both sides had to thank their goalkeepers for keeping the score goalless in the first half.

Some timely interceptions and fine stops from Ismaily's Mohamed Awad kept Ahly at bay while, at the other end, Mohamed El-Shennawi pulled off a superb save shortly before halftime to thwart in-form Colombian striker Diego Calderon.

Ahly's territorial dominance resulted in one clear-cut chance in the first half when Moroccan striker Walid Azaro exchanged passes with Nigerian winger Junior Ajayi and sent a bouncing shot from just inside the area that was palmed away by Awad.

Two minutes before the break, a fast counter attack saw Calderon superbly skip past Ahly's central defender Mohamed Hani before firing a powerful shot that was tipped over by towering keeper El-Shennawi.

Ismaily struggled to contain a wave of Ahly attacks in the second half as the Red Devils mounted an onslaught on their area.

Winger Ahmed Hamoudi, who once again failed to impress, was unable to connect with an inviting cross at the far post with the goal at his mercy and Azaro was unlucky to see his header strike the bar following another pinpoint cross from midfielder Hesham Mohamed.

Awad was on alert again to handle a low shot from Ajayi and smother a header from Azaro but Ismaily could do nothing to prevent Soliman from scoring a precious winner at the death.

The lurking winger met an in-swinging cross from Abdallah El-Said with a diving header that caught Awad off-guard to nestle into the net.

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