Preview: Ahly face defensive injury crisis against rejuvenated Wadi Degla

Karim Farouk , Sunday 24 Dec 2017

File photo: Ahly's Moroccan striker Walid Azaro (R) scored in his side's 4-1 Egyptian Premier League win over Enppi last Saturday (Ahram)

Defending champions Ahly are facing defensive injury crisis as they take on Wadi Degla on Monday without a natural centre-back in their squad.

Egyptian international defenders Saad Samir and Rami Rabia have been on the sidelines for several weeks with leg injuries while veteran Mohamed Naguib picked up a knock against Smouha last week and will be out of action for three weeks.

Coach Hossam El-Badry is now left with only left-back Ayman Ashraf, who has been deployed in a central defensive role over the past four games, and is still weighing his options whether to use right-back Mohamed Hani or the experienced full Ahmed Fathi to partner him in central defense.

Moreover, influential Nigerian forward Junior Ajayi has been ruled out of this game due to automatic suspension.

However, El-Badry will welcome pacy striker Walid Azaro and Tunisia left-back Ali Maaloul who returned from injury. Winger Ahmed Hamoudi and playmaker Saleh Gomaa have been also included in the squad for the game.

Wadi Degla are enjoying a fresh start under the helm of newly-appointed coach Tarek El-Ashri, who took over from Ahmed Hossam "Mido" earlier this month.

El-Ashri was off to a winning start after as Degla beat Masry to reach Egypt Cup quarters. The Cairo-based team then got the better of Arab Contractors and Assiouty Sport to move away from the danger zone.

Wadi Degla, who conceded 24 goals in 12 games, kept a clean sheet in their past three games under El-Ashri.

However, they will face their most challenging opponents who are looking to bridge the five-point gap with leaders Ismaily, who played three games more.

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