Abou-Treika hands Ahly a morale-boosting win
Ahly snapped a four-match winless streak after a brace from Mohamed Abou-Treika helped them come from behind to beat Harras El-Hodoud 2-1in the Egyptian Premier League on Tuesday.
Senegalese striker Pape N’Diaye put the visitors ahead after making the most of a blunder from keeper Mahmoud Aboul-Saoud in the first half but Ahly roared back after the break to grab a much-needed win after three draws and one defeat in their past four matches.
Classy playmaker Abou-Treika reduced the arrears just after the restart and converted a penalty with 11 minutes remaining to send the few home fans into ecstasy and give interim coach Abdel-Aziz Abdel-Shafy ‘Zizo’ his first victory.
Abou-Treika took his tally to 99 league goals in his career, one short of the 100-goal milestone.
Ahly, who eye a seventh consecutive league title, remain fifth in the table with 23 points, four behind arch-rivals and leaders Zamalek.
Chances were few and far between in a dull first-half, thanks to the cautious strategies of both sides in front of a near-empty stadium.
Ahly’s 3-5-2 formation featured the presence of three holding midfielders, who slowed down the tempo and were too sluggish in the build-up.
Abou-Treika tried his luck with an early volley that went over the bar but El-Hodoud took firm control afterwards, laying siege to the hosts’ area and whipping in some dangerous crosses from the flanks.
El-Hodoud’s pressure paid off on 34 minutes when Aboul-Saoud fumbled a deep free-kick and N'Diayepounced to side-foot home into an empty net.
Zizo introduced striker Mohamed Fadl in the second period to inject zeal and increase the team’s firepower. The substitution bore fruit as Ahly piled on pressure and managed to notch the equalizer a minute into the second half.
El-Hodoud keeper Ali Farag was at fault, misjudging a cross to allow Fadl to head the ball goalwards before Abou-Treika bundled the ball into the net.
Forward Mohamed Nagy ‘Gedo’ almost put Ahly in front on 57 minutes after breaking clear of defense but his low shot went wide of the post after a one-on-one with Farag.
The Red Devils made amends when they were awarded a debatable penalty in the 78th minute after Farag appeared to have brought down Fadl, who was hopelessly chasing a wayward pass inside the area.
The keeper dived the right way but could not save the penalty as Abou-Treika completed his double and gave Ahly fans something to cheer about after a disappointing run.