Preview: Ahly refusing to throw in the towel despite big Egyptian league gap

Ahram Online , Saturday 9 May 2015

Ahly
Ahly beat Nasr 3-0 in Fathi Mabrouk's first match in charge last week (Photo: the club's official website)

Ahly are still hoping they can cause a huge upset and overtake arch-rivals Zamalek at the Egyptian Premier League summit despite a big gap and some stuttering displays.

The Red Devils, who face Talae El-Geish on Sunday, crushed lowly Nasr 3-0 in Fathi Mabrouk's first match in charge last Wednesday but Zamalek quickly restored an 11-point advantage with an equally easy win over Ragaa the following day. 

With Zamalek in a formidable form, they look odds on to claim their first league title since 2004 and prevent Ahly from equaling their own record of winning the competition nine times in a row.

But Mabrouk, who took charge of Ahly on a permanent basis for the first time after two spells as a caretaker coach including last season when helped them to the league title, still believes there are room for surprises.

"I don't care if we are third or fourth, we are always champions. I'm still thinking positively about our chances of winning the title," he said following the win over Nasr.

Ahly lie third in the table with 49 points, eight behind second-placed ENPPI who played two games more.

The Cairo giants should at least finish as runners up to qualify for next year's African Champions League, a competition they exited at the last-16 stage this term to prompt the board to fire Spanish coach Juan Garrido.

Ahly will miss defensive midfielder Hossam Ashour, Nigerian striker Peter Ebimobowei and winger Walid Soliman against 11th-placed El-Geish due to injury.

New arrival Hendrik Helmke, a Brazilian-German midfielder who joined in January but is yet to make his debut due to injury, is included in the squad for the first time.

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