Ahly secure hard-fought win to make best Egyptian league start since 2005

Ahram Online , Sunday 15 Dec 2019

Ahly secured a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Haras El-Hodoud (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Ahly needed a late goal from Amr El-Sulaya to break the resistance of Haras El-Hodoud and make their best start to an Egyptian Premier League season since 2005.

The central midfielder's long-range drive with nine minutes remaining took a wicked deflection to wrong-foot the keeper and give Ahly a precious 1-0 victory.

They were made to sweat for the win but they will still be relieved to make it six victories out of six, a run which they have not achieved since the beginning of the 2005/2006 season when they also won their first six games. 

Ahly, who are eyeing a fifth consecutive league crown, top the table with maximum 18 points, two ahead of Arab Contractors, who played a game more. El-Hodoud dropped to eighth on 10 points.

Despite their territorial dominance, Ahly found it hard to break down the massed ranks of El-Hodoud, who kept plenty of men behind the ball.

However, the Red Devils still had a golden chance to open the scoring in the first half when a superb back-heel pass from El-Sulaya released Nigerian forward Junior Ajayi, whose effort struck the bar.

El-Hodoud maintained their resolute display in the second half and could have stunned their illustrious opponents when Nigerian Anthony Lokosa forced a fine save from Ahly keeper Mohamed El-Shennawi following a rare counter attack.

However, a deflected shot from Magdi Afsha struck the woodwork and Ajayi blasted over the bar when well-positioned to score at the other end as Ahly upped their pressure.

The breakthrough finally came when El-Sulaya's hopeful shot was helped into the net by a flying tackle from an El-Hodoud defender.

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