An early goal from out-of-favour winger Ahmed El-Sheikh helped Ahly return to winning ways with a 1-0 victory over Petrojet in the Egyptian Premier League on Saturday, easing a crisis that threatens to ruin their season.
El-Sheikh scored what proved to be the winner as early as the eighth minute and although Ahly produced a largely sluggish display, they will still be content to bag three points after two successive league losses to Ittihad and Arab Contractors.
Caretaker coach Mohamed Youssef enjoyed his first win at the helm, having taken over on an interim basis after Frenchman Patrice Carteron was sacked following Ahly's loss in the African Champions League final and elimination from the Arab Zayed Champions Cup.
The Red Devils, who are 16th in the 18-team table with 14 points, won their first of six rescheduled games as they aim to remain in touch with leaders and arch-rivals Zamalek, who have 32 points from 13 matches.
Ahly needed eight minutes to take the lead, with El-Sheikh bundling the ball home from close range after a corner found him unmarked.
They hardly built onto their advantage but playmaker Nasser Maher still had a chance to put them 2-0 up on 19 minutes but shot straight at the keeper with the goal at his mercy.
Both sides had to make an unscripted substitution, with Petrojet replacing Ivorian midfielder Mohamed Vieira and Ahly taking off veteran midfielder Hossam Ashour after both were injured.
A dour second half yielded two more chances for Ahly, left-back Ayman Ashraf drilling a low shot just wide after a marauding run and Moroccan marksman Walid Azaro, who returned from injury, blasting over the bar when well-positioned to score.
Petrojet piled on pressure in the dying stages but Ahly held on to secure a much-needed win.
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