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Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Ahly scrape into Egypt Cup semis with narrow win ahead of Champions League final

Ahly defeat a second-division side to reach the Egypt Cup semis in their last match before facing Zamalek in the African Champions League final

Ahram Online , Saturday 21 Nov 2020
Ahly players celebrate one of their goals (Ahram)

A double from Walid Soliman gave Ahly an unimpressive 2-1 victory over second-tier Abu Qir Fertilizers in the Egypt Cup quarters on Saturday, less than a week before their meeting against Zamalek in the African Champions League final.

The veteran winger netted two first-half goals from a superb volley and a penalty to lift Ahly to the semis as they chase a domestic double. However, he was taken off injured in the second half, raising doubts over his availability for the crunch clash against Cairo rivals Zamalek.

Guinean striker Kerfala Kouyate pulled one back for Abu Qir Fertilizers, who played with ten men for most of the game following the first-half dismissal of Ibrahim Reio, but the plucky side could not find an equaliser.

Ahly coach Pitso Mosimane fielded a weakened side and they laboured for much of the game against their modest opponents. They were also wasteful in the second half as they failed to kill off the game.

Soliman, one of Ahly's standout performers in their triumphant Egyptian Premier League campaign, opened the scoring on the quarter-hour mark with a brilliant volley from a tight angle that went in off the bar.

A handball from Reio 11 minutes later saw him receive a second booking as Ahly were awarded a penalty, with Soliman tucking it away to double their advantage.

Kouyate narrowed the gap in the 38th minute, ghosting past two static defenders to flick a low cross past keeper Mohamed El-Shennawi, who got a hand to it.

Ahly, who last won the Egypt Cup in 2017, could have restored their two-goal cushion in the second half but Senegalese striker Aliou Badji spurned two goal-scoring chances. They still held on to set up a last-four meeting with Ittihad of Alexandria.

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