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Preview: Leaders Ahly without key men for Ismaily clash in Egyptian league

Ahly will be looking to extend their winning start to seven matches when they play Ismaily on Thursday

Ahram Online , Wednesday 18 Dec 2019
File photo of an Egyptian Premier League game between Ahly and Ismaily (Ahram)

Ahly will have to do without three of their key players as they look to extend their winning start to the Egyptian league when they meet foes Ismaily on Thursday.

The Red Devils are missing influential winger Ramadan Sobhi, their top scorer with four goals and their chief architect, after he picked up a hamstring injury that will sideline him for around six weeks.

Veteran right-back Ahmed Fathi and central midfielder Amr El-Sulaya, who scored the only goal in a hard-fought victory over Haras El-Hodoud earlier this week, are also out due to injuries.

But there were still some good news for Ahly as they welcome back regular left-back Ali Maaloul and central defender Mahmoud Metwalli, with both of whom returning from lengthy lay-offs.

The Cairo giants have made an impressive start to the season as they eye a fifth consecutive league crown.

They won their opening six games, scoring a staggering 18 goals and conceding just one in the process to sit top with maximum 18 points.

They faced unusual resistance against El-Hodoud, who closed down spaces and played with plenty of men behind the ball. However, a deflected, long-range shot from El-Sulaya with nine minutes remaining ensured Ahly had made their best league start since 2005.

Ismaily, whose last league triumph saw them pip Ahly to the title following an enthralling race in 2002, have been inconsistent in the early stages of the season. They lie sixth with eight points from eight matches.

Ahly failed to beat Ismaily in two league meetings last season, with both ending in draws.

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