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Preview: Coach Mabrouk has point to prove against former club Ahly

Ahram Online , Wednesday 6 Jan 2016
Coach Fathi Mabrouk (Al-Ahram)
Former Ahly coach Fathi Mabrouk (Al-Ahram)

Fathi Mabrouk, who spent his entire footballing career with Ahly, will have a point to prove when he leads Ittihad El-Shorta against the Cairo giants in Thursday's Egyptian Premier League game.

The 64-year-old boss, a former full back with Ahly, was sacked as their manager in October following an embarrassing 4-3 defeat at home to South Africa's Orlando Pirates in the second leg of the African Confederation Cup semi-final.

He led Ahly to the league title in 2014 as a caretaker boss but when he returned to the club following the sacking of Spaniard Juan Garrido in May 2015 he could not rescue a faltering season and the team finished empty handed, with bitter rivals Zamalek beating them to the domestic league and cup double.

Mabrouk then took over at struggling El-Shorta, who lie third from bottom with only seven points from 10 games, but he is yet to end their poor run, with the team suffering a defeat and drawing four times in five matches under his guidance.

"This will be a difficult match, in part because Mabrouk is the one who is in charge of El-Shorta," said Ahly's assistant coach Mohamed Abdel-Azim.

"He simply knows everything about Ahly and our players," he added.

Portuguese boss Jose Peseiro, who succeeded Mabrouk, was criticised for some inconsistent displays but Ahly managed to secure back-to-back wins over Aswan and El-Entag El-Harby in their previous two games.

Their victory over El-Entag on Sunday was all the more precious after veteran striker Emad Meteb headed home in the last minute of stoppage time for a narrow 1-0 win.

Should Ahly win their three games in hand, they will move top as they seek to wrestle the title back from Zamalek.

Ahly will host El-Shorta at Alexandria's Borg El-Arab Stadium, away from their normal venues in Cairo after security officials had repeatedly turned down their demands to play in the capital.

All league matches are being played behind closed doors due to security concerns.

The Red Devils will miss skipper Hossam Ghaly against El-Shorta after he was handed a two-match ban for his part in a melee at the end of the victory over Entag. 

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