Preview: Holders Ahly face first real test in Egyptian league

Ahram Online , Tuesday 27 Sep 2016

Ahly lost 1-0 to Wadi Degla in the Egyptian Premier League last season (Ahram)

Holders Ahly will face their first real test in the Egyptian Premier League when they meet Wadi Degla on Wednesday, hoping to continue their fine start to the season at the expense of a side that prevailed in their last meeting.

Degla snatched a last-gasp 1-0 victory in May last season, thanks to a 95th-minute winner from Junior Mapuku. Ahly still went on to claim their ninth title in 10 seasons while Degla, who notably improved under French coach Patrice Carteron, finished fifth.

Ahly, who were heavily criticised by their demanding fans after losing to arch rivals Zamalek in the Egypt Cup final before suffering a group-stage elimination at the African Champions League, shortly after winning the premier domestic competition, bagged maximum six points from their opening two games of the new term.

They made their domination count in both matches, defeating below-par Ismaily 1-0 before easing past Arab Contractors with a 2-0 victory last week.

Degla recovered from an opening 1-0 loss to Petrojet to record a 1-0 win over Ittihad of Alexandia.

"We are focused on continuing our fine run and secure a third straight win," said Ahly's assistant coach Ahmed Ayoub.

"We are delighted with Ahly's displays in the first two games. We are looking forward to maintaining such performances."

Ahly's new Nigerian forward Junior Ajayi may make his competitive debut after excelling in a friendly game this week. His display is likely to tempt coach Hossam El-Badry into fielding him, given a series of disappointing performances from Amr Gamal, who usually plays as a lone striker.

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