File photo of Ahly's left-back Ali Maaloul, who scored the second goal against Enppi (Ahram)
Second-half goals from the right and left backs ensured Ahly continued from where they left off in the Egyptian Premier League, marking a return to action with a 2-0 win over Enppi on Sunday to continue their smooth ride towards a fifth straight title.
Right-back Mohamed Hani broke the deadlock on 64 minutes after catching keeper Mahmoud Gad off-guard with a looping header before Tunisian left-back Ali Maaloul put the icing on the cake with a fortuitous goal just before the final whistle.
Although Ahly looked rusty following a five-month league hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, they still got the job done to make it 17 wins out of 18 matches.
They are on top of the table with 52 points, 18 clear of second-placed and perennial rivals Zamalek, who have a game in hand.
Although Ahly pinned back their visitors for much of the game, they struggled to create openings in a drab first half, with the absence of key wingers Ramadan Sobhi and Mahmoud Kahraba depriving them of creativity.
The first chance arrived on 56 minutes when playmaker Magdi Afsha, who was otherwise a peripheral figure, broke clear after exchanging passes with Amr El-Sulaya, only to see his tame effort blocked by Mahmoud Gad.
But Gad was at fault for the opener eight minutes later as his ill-judged advance allowed Hani to send a looping header over him and into the net following an inviting long ball from central defender Ayman Ashraf.
The keeper was also powerless to stop Ahly from adding a second in stoppage time, with Maaloul's free-kick eluding him and a crowd of defenders to nestle into the corner of the net.
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