Defending champions Ahly are still missing a much-needed cutting edge and it remains to be seen for how long they can solely rely on their creative midfielders to down their Egyptian Premier League opponents.
The Red Devils, who are eyeing an eighth consecutive league triumph, have made a fine start to the season in terms of results but a series of unconvincing displays combined with wastefulness in front of goal are casting doubts over whether they can remain the formidable force of the past seven seasons.
They face Geish on Thursday without injured top scorer Emad Meteb, their best performer upfront who has scored five goals so far this season but has not found the net since the 3-2 win over ENPPI on 7 November.
“Meteb is still suffering from back pains. He will not be able to play against El-Geish,” Ahly football director Sayed Abdel-Hafiz said on the club’s official website.
“He is also doubtful for Saturday’s friendly game against Bayern Munich in Qatar.”
The other strikers at coach Manuel Jose’s disposal, including Egyptian international Mohamed Nagy ‘Gedo’ and newly-arrived Brazilian frontman Fabio Junior, have failed to impress.
Gedo scored one goal while the fellow strikers are yet to open their account this term. Attacking midfielders Abdallah El-Saied, Walid Soliman and Mohamed Barakat stepped in to rescue Ahly on the many occasions in which their frontmen misfired.
Ahly benefited from the pitch invasion of Ghazl El-Mahalla supporters last week which prompted the Egyptian FA to award them a 2-0 victory. The match was called off in the second half when the score was 2-2.
They lie third in the 19-team table with 23 points, five behind surprise leaders Haras El-Hodoud who played two games more.
Ahly will miss defender Sherif Abdel-Fadil against Geish due to a calf injury but they will have regular goalie Sherif Ekramy back after he recovered from a minor complaint.
Geish, who are 13th in the table, will have to do without Ivorian striker Abou Kone, who fractured his arm during their 2-1 defeat by Ismaily.
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