Ahly close in on title after late show against El-Hodoud

Karim Farouk , Monday 7 Sep 2020

Ahly need only eight points from their next nine games to secure their 42nd league title

(Photo: Al-Ahram)

Defending Champions Ahly restored their 17-point lead at the top after a 2-0 win against Haras El-Hodoud on Monday to move one step closer to the title.

The result put Ahly at 68 points from 25 games ahead of second-placed Zamalek, who have 51 points and now need only eight points from their next nine games to secure their 42nd league title.

Two late strikes from second half substitutes Walid Soliman and Mohamed "Afsha" Magdi on the 85th and 96th minutes sealed a clinical but unconvincing win for the Red Devils.

Swiss coach Rene Weiler maintained his 4-4-2 scheme for the third game in a row instead of his usual 4-2-3-1 scheme to provide new tactical solutions to his injury-hit squad.

But playing with two strikers proved once again ineffective as Ahly were kept at bay during a dour first half.

Senegalese forward Aliou Badji created the only threat in the opening 45 minutes, bursting clear of Haras El-Hodoud’s defence to send a low cross to Marwan Mohsen, who hit the side netting with the goal at his mercy.

After the interval, both keepers were tested when Ahly's Mohamed El-Shennawi denied a clear-cut chance from Abdel-Latif Grindo, who ghosted past the Red Devils' defenders while El-Hodoud's Ahmed El-Saadani saved a poor effort from Badji from point blank after dispossessing the last defender.

Weiler reverted to his usual scheme after bringing in most of his key players, most notably veteran winger Walid Soliman, Nigerian winger Junior Ajayi and playmaker Afsha.

Soliman proved his coach right as he produced a moment of individual brilliance after combining with Ajayi to fire a left-footed volley into the top corner of the net to put Ahly in the lead.

As El-Hodoud threw men forward in the closing stages in an attempt to grab the equaliser, Ajayi broke the offside trap to send a cross to an unmarked Afsha in the area to volley in the roof of the net and secure the full points of the game.

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