Ahly lose ground in race for runners-up spot after 0-0 draw

Ahram Online , Wednesday 17 Aug 2022

Ahly's mini-revival came to an end with a disappointing 0-0 draw at relegation-threatened Eastern Company on Wednesday as they lost ground in their battle with Pyramids FC to finish second in the Egyptian Premier League.

Ahly v Eastern Company

 

With Zamalek in pole position to secure a second consecutive league crown, Ahly's realistic target is earning a runners-up spot.

They paid for missing some easy chances against Eastern Company as their youthful-looking side failed to find a decisive winner. The hosts defended doggedly with ten men in the dying minutes after Mohamed Saleh received a straight red card for a last-man foul on 81 minutes.

The draw will increase pressure on Portuguese coach Ricardo Soares, whose position is under scrutiny even though he has been in the job for less than two months.

He will need to show his credentials in Ahly's final four league games if he is to remain at the helm next season.

Ahly, who showed relative improvement lately after winning two successive games, are third in the table with 63 points, two behind Pyramids FC and nine adrift of Cairo rivals Zamalek.

Eastern Company lie 15th in the 18-team table with 29 points, one ahead of Gouna in the last relegation spot, although the latter have a game in hand.  

More dangerous

Although Ahly had territorial dominance, Eastern Company were more dangerous in the first half.

Tunisian forward Firas Iffia ghosted behind the defence to collect a threaded ball and fire a shot that was tipped over by keeper Ali Lotfi from a good scoring position. Lotfi was also called into action shortly after, tipping a cross-cum-shot onto the post.

Ahly's primary source of danger was young winger Zeyad Tarek, who went close twice, shooting just over the bar and then narrowly missing the target with a superb bicycle effort.

The Red Devils had a couple of chances to settle the game in their favour in a second half they dominated.

A clever dummy from midfielder Mohamed Mahmoud released wing-back Karim Fouad, whose attempted chip was thwarted by the keeper and his follow-up effort was blocked by a defender.

Striker Hossam Hassan also raced clear after a neat pass from Mahmoud but his angled effort fizzed just wide of the far post.

Eastern Company could have also snatched a win had it not been for a brilliant one-handed save from Lotfi, who smothered a goal-bound header from Emad Maihoub on 59 minutes.

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