Ahly's inconsistent run continues with draw against Ceramica Cleopatra

Ahram Online , Wednesday 28 Dec 2022

Ahly stumbled for the third time in four matches after being held to a 1-1 draw by Ceramica Cleopatra in the Egyptian Premier League on Wednesday to mount pressure on under-fire coach Marcel Koller.

Ahly v Ceramica Cleopatra

 

Ceramica took the lead on the stroke of halftime, with a mis-timed jump from goalkeeper Mohamed El-Shennawi gifting Ahmed Ramadan a surprise opener.

Veteran Tunisian left-back Ali Maaloul brought Ahly with a 78th-minute penalty but the Cairo giants could not find a winner as they settled for a draw for the second consecutive game.

Despite a promising start that saw Ahly kick off their campaign with six straight wins, their recent form has been alarming for their demanding supporters, who are worried the team might surrender the title to arch foes Zamalek for the third successive season.

Ahly lead Zamalek by three points on top but the White Knights will pull level with their perennial rivals if they beat Ismaily on Thursday.

Ceramica remain eighth with 12 points from 10 matches.

Best chance

Ceramica wasted the first half's best chance when a volley from Nigerian striker John Ebuka hit the side netting after a ball was played over the top of the defence on 23 minutes.

Ahly had a couple of half-chances, including a far-post header from Brazilian playmaker Bruno Savio that narrowly missed the target.

The Red Devils were stunned just before halftime when Ramadan's backward header looped over the poorly-positioned El-Shennawi following a corner.

Ahly notably improved in a second half they dominated, and it took some fine saves from Ceramica keeper Mohamed Bassam to keep them at bay.

He saved a tame shot from Shady Hussein in a one-on-one situation, tipped over a piledriver from right-back Mohamed Hani and produced a handball-style stop to block an angled shot from Hussein El-Shahat with his leg after the latter was released by a give-and-go with Karim Fouad.

Bassam was finally beaten on 78 minutes despite diving the right way when Ali Maaloul fired home a penalty after Ceramica's full-back Mohamed Shokri was punished for a reckless challenge on the shin of Fouad.

Ahly's late pressure failed to pay off though as they continued to stutter under Swiss coach Koller.

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