ENPPI claim a surprising victory over league winners Ahly (Photo by Bassam El-Zoghby)
Ahly, who were eliminated from the CAF Champions League last week, suffered more misery on Wednesday after losing 1-0 at home to ENPPI in the Egyptian Cup round of 16.
The Red Devils, who looked out of sorts throughout the match, were sunk by an own goal from promising defender Rami Rabeia seven minutes past the hour mark.
They were booed off by the disappointing home fans, who also saw their team exit the Champions League last Friday following a 1-1 draw with Tunisia’s Esperance in their last Group B encounter.
Ahly’s new signings Abdullah El-Saied, Walid Soliman and Fabio Junior were introduced with 19 minutes remaining but barely had time to make an impact as ENPPI claimed a surprising victory.
Portuguese coach Manuel Jose, a cult figure among Ahly’s faithful after guiding the team to a host of titles in three spells, had already received heavy criticism following the team’s Champions League elimination.
Ahly had the better possession in the first half but could not threaten ENPPI, who were dangerous on the break.
A sluggish display by strike duo Mohamed Fadl and Mohamed Nagy “Gedo” let Ahly down, as they repeatedly failed to make the most of crosses from lively left-back Ahmed Shedid, who rejoined the club from Masry in the close season.
ENPPI, who sold inspirational playmaker Walid Soliman to Ahly, were unlucky not to go ahead in the first half after being twice denied by the woodwork.
Midfielder Mohamed Sobhy timed his run to perfection to beat the offside trap and run onto a superb pass from Adel Mostafa in the 20th minute but his attempted lob, which eluded advancing keeper Sherif Ekramy, struck the bar.
Left wing-back Mohamed Nassef also had a low shot denied by the post after a corner caused mayhem in Ahly's backline five minutes before the break.
Ahly remained short of ideas and creativity in the second half, allowing ENPPI to take control and shock the home crowd with a 67th-minute goal.
Substitute Vincent Die Foneye broke clear after taking a perfectly threaded pass and his low cross was converted by sweeper Rabeia into his own net.
Jose made a triple substitution four minutes later, introducing El-Saied, Soliman and Junior but the trio could not turn things around.