Ahly's Egyptian league celebrations on hold after Ittihad draw

Ahram Online , Monday 14 Sep 2020

Ahly were held to a 0-0 draw by Ittihad on Monday (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Ten-man Ahly were forced to wait at least another round to celebrate their fifth successive Egyptian Premier League title after they failed to break down a resolute Ittihad side in a 0-0 draw on Monday.

In an intense yet unentertaining affair, Ahly wasted two chances before the break but had substitute Ahmed Fathi, a veteran right-back, dismissed for two bookable offences on the hour mark.

Fathi collected the second booking after the referee adjudged him to have caught Mohamed Rezk in the face with his outstretched leg, with Ahly conceding a penalty in the process.

However, keeper Mohamed El-Shennawi saved the penalty and was also on hand to deny Ittihad a shock winner at the death as Ahly's six-match winning run came to an end.

Despite their fourth draw of the season, Ahly should find no difficulty wrapping up their 42nd title when they meet Maqassa on Saturday as they need just two points from their remaining seven matches.

The runaway leaders have 72 points from 27 matches, a staggering 20 ahead of second-placed and perennial Cairo rivals Zamalek. Ittihad, who also held Zamalek to a 1-1 draw last month, are fifth on 37 points.

Ittihad kept Ahly at bay for the majority of the first half, with the visitors creating their first real chances on the stroke of halftime when a header from Marwan Mohsen went just wide before striker partner Aliou Badji volleyed straight at the keeper when well-positioned to score.

Fathi's red card looked to have turned the tide in Ittihad's favour but El-Shennawi guessed the right way to smother Ahmed Refaat's spot-kick on 62 minutes.

The introduction of wingers Walid Soliman and Mahmoud Kahraba failed to spur Ahly into action, with Ittihad looking dangerous every time they poured forward in a breakaway.

El-Shennawi thwarted a goal-bound effort in stoppage time to deny Ittihad a famous win, but it would be only a matter of time before Ahly make amends and romp to another league crown.

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