Ahly fans will turn their attention to Mauritania’s Dominique Da Silva when the defending champions host El-Entag El-Harby in Friday’s Premier League match, hoping he can add a cutting edge that escapes the team.
Dominique is gradually winning over Ahly’s faithful after joining the team in the January transfer window, thanks to his pace and physical prowess which kept Wadi Degla’s defenders on their toes throughout last Monday’s game.
The 21-year-old was included in the starting lineup against Wadi Degla after Portuguese coach Manuel Jose opted to omit the ineffective Osama Hosny.
Wadi Degla’s defenders struggled to cope with the threat Dominique posed and were powerless to prevent him from scoring the second goal in Ahly’s 2-1 victory which kept them just one point adrift of league leaders and arch-rivals Zamalek.
The former Sfaxien man held off two defenders to fire a powerful right-foot shot from the edge of the area which left the keeper with no chance of saving the day. He also had a hand in the first-half dismissal of Degla keeper Haitham Mohamed after making the most of his pace to break clear of the defence.
Although he wasted a couple of goal-scoring opportunities, Da Silva could prove the lethal weapon Ahly need upfront in Jose’s preferred 3-4-2-1 formation.
“Dominique is fit to play against El-Entag El-Harby on Friday,” Ahly said on their official website, playing down a minor calf strain he picked up against Wadi Degla. “The technical staff just opted to replace him in the second half as a precaution.”
Ahly will have to do without influential defensive midfielder Mohamed Shawky, who sustained a knee injury during the team’s 1-0 victory over Ittihad of Alexandria last week. However central midfielders Hossam Ashour and Hossam Ghaly have been included in the match squad after serving a one-match ban.
Classy playmaker Mohamed Abou-Treika will be also absent as he still nurses a calf complaint.
Ahly will move top, at least on a temporary basis, if they defeat El-Entag El-Harby. Zamalek face Arab Contractors on Saturday.
Ismaily will be looking to keep alive their hopes of mounting a serious challenge for the title when they play Masr lel Maqassa in Cairo. The match was due to be held in Fayoum City, 130 kilometres southwest of Cairo, but was switched to the capital for security reasons.
The Dervishes fans hurled stones onto the pitch and insulted the players after Ismaily slumped to a stunning 1-0 home defeat by Arab Contractors which dented their hopes of winning their first title since 2002.
They lie third in the table on 38 points, four adrift of Ahly and five behind Zamalek.