Soliman scores twice, Ebe nets maiden goal as Ahly return to winning ways

Hatem Maher , Saturday 7 Feb 2015

Nigerian striker Peter Ebimobowei screaming with joy after opening his Ahly account in the 3-1 victory over Ittihad El-Shorta in the Egyptian Premier League on Saturday (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Nigerian striker Peter Ebimobowei scored on his full debut and substitute Walid Soliman notched a late double as Ahly recovered from some poor results to register a 3-1 victory over Ittihad El-Shorta in an exciting Egyptian Premier League game on Saturday.

Ebimobowei, who joined Ahly from Nigeria's Bayelsa United in the January transfer window, opened his account five minutes before the break after making his first start, having made a substitute appearance in the team's 1-0 defeat by ENPPI last week.

Ghanaian striker Nana Poku brought El-Shorta level with a fortuitous goal on the hour mark but in-form winger Soliman, who surprisingly started on the bench, made the difference following his introduction with a well-taken brace in the last 10 minutes that included a brilliant curling free-kick.

The win is likely to ease pressure on Ahly's Spanish coach Juan Garrido, who came in for criticism after the Cairo giants won only once in their previous five matches, casting doubts over their ability to equal their own record of claiming nine successive league titles.

El-Shorta, who finished with ten men after Mostafa Shammama was sent off for a second bookable offence two minutes from time, could have equalised in the dying minutes but wasted a penalty in an exciting finale.

Ebimobowei was replaced after being injured but the impact he made is likely to prompt Garrido to rely on him in the coming period, with fellow frontmen including Ethiopia's Saladin Said failing to establish themselves.

Holders Ahly are third in the table with 36 points, five short of second-placed ENPPI and eight adrift of leaders and arch-rivals Zamalek.

Zakareya's debut

Ahly goalkeeper Sherif Ekramy regained his place between the sticks after taking care of his ill toddler and attacking midfielder Moemen Zakareya, who made a controversial move after joining from arch-rivals Zamalek, made his debut after serving a one-month suspension for signing contracts with two clubs last summer.

The Red Devils' backline remained porous but Zakareya and fellow attacking midfielder Mahmoud Trezeguet were lively upfront, causing constant troubles for Shorta defence.

Zakareya hit the side netting from a tight angle after a fine move down the left but Poku responded when a recurring defensive lapse from Saad Samir gave him space to send a low shot from just inside the area but Ekramy was on alert to thwart it.

Ebimobowei, who largely kept Shorta's defenders on their toes with some energetic moves, spurned a goal-scoring chance midway through the first half but made amends on 40 minutes to open the scoring.

Trezeguet was the architect, exchanging passes with Zakareya to dart down the right and send a superb diagonal pass to the lurking Ebimobowei who made no mistake with a simple finish before screaming with joy.

But Ahly's defensive blunders continued to haunt them, with Poku drawing Shorta level on 60 minutes.

Ahly's left-back Sabri Rahil was caught napping as Ibrahim El-Helali ran unopposed down the right before feeding the unmarked Poku, whose shot hit the body of the advancing Ekramy and rebounded off his face and into the net.

Ahly poured forward en masse in the latter stages, with Soliman injecting much-needed zeal.

They went close with two headers before Soliman restored their advantage on 80 minutes, drilling the ball home following a superb back-heel from striker Emad Meteb, who also came on as a second-half substitute.

Salah Riko stepped up after Ahly's defender Mohamed Naguib pushed a forward inside the area but he blasted his spot kick against the bar with four minutes remaining and Soliman killed off any hopes Shorta had of restoring parity with a delightful late free-kick.

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