El-Said haunts old club as Pyramids beat Ahly to spoil Lasarte debut

Hatem Maher , Friday 4 Jan 2019

Pyramids v Ahly
Pyramids defeat Ahly 2-1 in the Egyptian Premier League on Friday (Ahram)

Big-spending Pyramids FC announced early on Friday that they signed ex-Ahly playmaker Abdallah El-Said, who later in the day scored and provided an assist to haunt his old club and give his new side a 2-1 Egyptian Premier League win.

Out of the blue, El-Said left Jeddah-based club Ahli to join Pyramids and he needed no time to adapt to the expensively-assembled outfit.

His impressive second-half display helped the team come from behind to earn a precious win and inflict a third defeat on a disappointing Ahly side, who lost more ground in the title race.

Ahly were the ones to take the lead via a header from Walid Azaro in the first half, with the Moroccan striker ending a barren run after netting his first league goal since August.

However, Mohamed Farouk, who also had a spell with Ahly, made the most of a goalkeeping blunder early in the second half to head home a free-kick from El-Said, whose powerful volley from inside the area 10 minutes later gave Pyramids the bragging rights of an exciting duel.

The 33-year-old, a key Ahly player in the past few years, fell out with the Red Devils in the summer when he attempted to join Cairo nemesis Zamalek. Ahly then put him up for sale as a disciplinary measure, with Ahli Jeddah snapping him up.

Ahly's defeat spoils the debut of new Uruguayan coach Martin Lasarte, whose task will be to rebuild an ailing side that are faltering badly after three defeats and as many draws in 13 games.

Pyramids, who were bought by then Saudi sports chief Turki Al-Sheikh in the close season, closed the gap on leaders Zamalek to five points but the latter can regain their eight-point advantage on top if they beat Ittihad of Alexandria on Saturday.

Ahly lie sixth on 24 points, 14 adrift of Zamalek, but they still have two games in hand.

New signings

A raft of new signings were introduced as both sides sought to stamp their authority, although Ahly somewhat played it safe by fielding only one January recruit in Huddersfield's on-loan winger Ramadan Sobhi.

Pyramids played three new faces -- El-Said, Burkinabe winger Eric Traore and Ecuador striker Jhon Cifuente but the trio were largely anonymous in a tight first-half.

Chances were at a premium in a cautious half, with the key men of either side well shackled.

However, at times Sobhi looked like capable of escaping his markers, with his physical presence down the left unsettling Pyramid's backline.

The Egyptian international started the move which led to an opening goal on 33 minutes, feeding the overlapping left-back Ali Maaloul who whipped in a cross for Azaro to outjump his marker and head home.

The goal was the only highlight of a dour half but the second period served up a much more exciting affair.

Pyramids needed only two minutes to level the score, Ahly keeper Mohamed El-Shennawi clutching thin air as Farouk cut ahead of him to head home a free-kick from El-Said.

Apart from a curling free-kick from Maaloul that struck the crossbar, Ahly found it hard to step up a gear and they soon found themselves behind as Pyramids struck again on 57 minutes after a neat move.

Impressive Brazilian winger Keno skipped past Karim Walid on the left and pulled the ball back to the unmarked El-Said, who flicked it before blasting a powerful volley into the back of the net.

Pyramids spurned two clear-cut chances to kill off Ahly's hopes, Farouk's bouncing volley narrowly missing the target and Traore's sliding effort striking the far post.

Ahly pushed forward in the dying stages but were unable to get something from the game, although winger Ahmed El-Sheikh went close when his header hit the side netting after a mistake from keeper Ahmed El-Shennawi.

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