Gomaa fires 10-man Ahly to narrow down the gap to one point at the top

Karim Farouk, Thursday 12 May 2011

Ahly beat Ittihad of Alexandria 1-0 on Thursday to move to the second place just a point adrift of leaders Zamalek.

Ahly defender Wael Gomaa

An 82nd minute penalty from defender Wael Gomaa kept Ahly firmly in the hunt for a seventh straight title.

The Red Devils moved to the second place with 39 point to cut Zamalek’s lead to just one point after the latter were stunned by Gouna 2-1 on Tuesday.

Coach Manuel Jose Da Silva fielded the same formation he played with against Zesco United last Sunday in the CAF Champions League keeping on the bench Algerian playmaker Amir Sayoud, and Egypt international players Ahmed Hassan, Hossam Ghaly and Sayed Moawad.

Ittihad of Alexandria sounded an early warning with El-Sayed Farid firing a long range shot that went crashing on the right hand post after three minutes.

Ahly took control of the game just after forcing their visitors to drop deep into their half.

Despite securing possession, the defending champions failed to break through the visitors’ compact defence.

Jose intervened at the half hour mark introducing his hot prospect Amir Sayoud hoping for some creativity on the pitch.

Mohamed Nagy ‘Gedo’ had the only real chance on goal when he rose above the defenders to connect with Hossam Ashour’s long pass but his header went inches over the bar.

The defending champions came out with more urgency in the second half with substitute Mauritanian striker Dominique Da Silva giving Ahly the speed they needed.

Sayoud, Da Silva, Gedo and Barakat combined together to produce an amazing offensive display creating many chances but lacked efficiency in front of goal.

Ittihad of Alexandria hit Ahly on the counter and Hany El-Egeizy should have put his team ahead when he went on a one on one with goalie Ahmed Adel Abdel-Moneim who made a magnificent save to keep his clean sheet.

Sayoud earned plaudits when he dribbled past three defenders to set up Gedo but in the six yards but Felix cleared it before he could strike.

Jose suffered a huge blow when Mohamed Shawky sustained a knee injury but he had to stay on the field as the Reds had already made their three substitutions.

Ahly fans could finally breathe a sigh of relief in the 82nd minute when defender Wael Gomaa converted the penalty kick whistled after Gedo was fouled in the area.

The visitors pushed forward after the goal in order to get the equalizer. A task that became easier when second-half substitute Hossam Ghaly was sent off in the 86thminute on a second booking leaving his team with only 10 men on the pitch including injured-Shawky.

The Red's defense had to assume the burden of the remaining few minutes to ensure the team’s victory and blow the title race wide open.

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