Preview: Ahly face tough test against Ismaily in their bid to retain league title

Ahram Online , Tuesday 10 Aug 2021

The test against Ismaily is one of the toughest in Ahly's six remaining games as they seek to win a sixth straight Egyptian Premier League title

Ahly v Ismaily
File photo of an Egyptian Premier League game between Ahly and Ismaily (Ahram)

Leaders Ahly arguably face one of their biggest tests in the final stage of the season as they meet traditional rivals Ismaily in the Egyptian Premier League on Wednesday.

Although Ismaily have not defeated Ahly for more than 10 years, they have always proven a tough nut to crack against the formidable Red Devils.

Two of their previous five league meetings ended in draws, although Ahly had prevailed in the last three encounters.

But Ahly can't afford to drop a single point as they go neck-and-neck with perennial Cairo rivals Zamalek on the top of the table in one of the most exciting two-horse races in years.

Both teams have 64 points with only six matches remaining, with Ahly enjoying a better head-to-head record, which will be decisive in case they finish level.

Since they were held to a disappointing 1-1 draw with unfancied NBE club last month, Ahly have claimed four consecutive victories, including a 4-0 drubbing of Ceramica Cleopatra on Saturday.

"There are a lot of positives tonight. We scored four goals and we managed to give other players the chance to play because of the overload. But it was not even one of our best games," Ahly coach Pitso Mosimane said after the game.

"We missed several chances, but you have to focus on the positives."

Ismaily flirted with relegation at one point this season but the arrival of coach Ihab Galal has turned around their fortunes. They lie 11th in the 18-team table on 33 points, seven above the danger zone.

Ahly will miss Moroccan defender Badr Benoun due to a COVID-19 infection while Ismaily will have to do without suspended left-back Hussein El-Sayed and winger Abdel-Rahman Magdi.

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