Ismaily’s woes mount after league draw with Petrojet

Hatem Maher , Wednesday 13 Apr 2011

Struggling side Ismaily were held to a draw by Petrojet as the Egyptian Premier League resumed following more than two months off

Ismaily V Petrojet
Petrojet proved a stubborn opponent for Ismaily

Petrojet added to the woes of Ismaily after holding the coastal club to a 1-1 draw as the Egyptian Premier League resumed Wednesday following a long break and amid tight security.

Last month’s pitch invasion in an African Champions League clash in Cairo cast doubts over the ability of the Interior Ministry to secure the league’s highly-charged games, but a trouble-free Wednesday was a promising sign.

Ismaily’s few supporters lit flares in the stands after their team fell behind in the first half against Petrojet, but there were no security incidents. The league was postponed in January following a popular uprising that forced former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak to step down.

The Dervishes’ draw increases pressure on Dutch coach Mark Wotte, whose side waved goodbye to the African Confederation Cup recently following a stunning loss to Kenyan side Sofapaka.

Second placed Ismaily failed to narrow the gap with league leaders Zamalek, who could move five points clear at the top if they beat Harras El-Hodoud on Thursday.

Elsewhere, ENPPI’s hopes of playing African football next season were dealt a blow following a surprise 2-1 defeat by lowly Gouna, seventh-placed Masry settled for a 1-1 draw with Gaish, and Smouha eased their relegation worries after a thrilling 3-2 win over El-Entag El-Harby.

Defending champions Ahly, who eye a seventh consecutive league crown, face Ittihad El-Shorta in Wednesday's late game.

Absent midfielders

Ismaily’s rhythm was affected by the absence of central midfielder Hosni Abd-Rabou, who is involved in a dispute with the club, and injured holding midfielder Amr El-Sulaya.

Petrojet wasted a couple of goal scoring opportunities in the early stages before securing the opener on 24 minutes when a clever dummy by Kamal Ali allowed a low cross to roll into the path of onrushing Mohamed Ragab, who made no mistake from close range.

Ismaily pushed forward to level the score in the second half but hardly threatened a lively Petrojet side, who paid for a blunder from goalkeeper Ibrahim Abdel-Gawad.

In the 57th minute, Abdel-Gawad fumbled a tame cross from Nigerian striker Ndubuisi Godwin and Mohsen Abou-Greisha pounced on the rebound to secure a share of the spoils.

Ismaily piled on the pressure late in the match but failed in their attempts to notch a decisive goal.

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