VIDEO: Sluggish Ahly held again after 1-1 draw with Gouna

Hatem Maher, Sunday 23 Oct 2011

Lackluster Ahly throw away their lead to draw with unfancied Gouna and increase pressure on beleaguered coach Manuel Jose

Ahly V Gouna
Ahly held to a 1-1 draw by Gouna

Defending champions Ahly continued their slow start to the season following a 1-1 draw at home to Gouna in a dour Egyptian Premier League game at Cairo Stadium on Sunday.

The hosts took a deserved lead through a header from Emad Meteb eight minutes before the break but Gouna secured a share of spoils after Ghanaian midfielder Samuel Ocran capitalized on some slack defending to notch home early in the second half.

Ahly appeared affected by the absence of injured winger Walid Soliman, leaving fellow new signing Abdallah El-Saied as the only creative player in the team’s starting lineup.

Playmaker Mohamed Abou-Treika, 32, has once again failed to prove his critics wrong, as he looked way past his prime with another disappointing display.

Ahly, who were held to a 2-2 draw at Petrojet in their previous game, could only collect five points from their first three games, casting doubts over their ability to maintain their local domination and win an eighth consecutive league title.

The draw against Gouna will increase pressure on Portuguese tactician Manuel Jose, who had already come in for fierce criticism after Ahly exited the Egypt Cup and African Champions League in less than a week last month.

Surprise package Gouna, who stunned Ismaily with a 4-1 victory last week, also have five points.

Dull half  

El-Saied’s tireless work down the right flank and some precise passes from central midfielder Hossam Ghaly gave Ahly the upper hand in a dull first half, as Gouna tried to rely on tame counter attacks.

Ahly wasted a couple of half-chances through El-Saied and Abou-Treika early on before Meteb broke the deadlock in the 37th minute.

The Egypt striker received an inch-perfect cross from El-Saied with a downward header from a tight angle that went past Gouna keeper Mohamed Abdel-Monsef.

The lively El-Saied almost doubled the lead one minute later when he was released by a neat pass from Abou-Treika, who made a minimal impact after putting in another mediocre display, but he blasted his shot high over from inside the area.

Surprise equalizer

Ahly were caught by surprise four minutes after the restart when Gouna leveled the score against the run of play, thanks to some sloppy defending.

Ahmed Adel was given too much space on the right to whip in a cross for Ocran, who held off challenger Ahmed Fathi to head the ball home from close range and stun the home crowd.

The cheers of Ahly’s hardcore fans (Ultras Ahlawy) did not wane but the Red Devils struggled to create any clear-cut chances despite dominating possession.

Jose introduced striking duo Dominique Da Silva and Brazilian Fabio Junior to support Meteb but neither made their presence felt, leaving Gouna comfortable at the back.

The visitors could have also claimed an upset win but Hassan Gomaa saw his curling free-kick goes just wide nine minutes past the hour mark.  

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