Ahly forward Mohamed Sherif (C) scored twice against Ghazl El-Mahalla (Photo: the Egyptian Football Association's official Twitter account)
Holders Ahly moved top with an easy 3-0 win over promoted Ghazl El-Mahalla in the Egyptian Premier League on Friday, thanks to a double from Mohamed Sherif who is grasping his chance with both hands after returning from a loan spell at Enppi.
Sherif, who has assumed the lone striker role as the out-of-sorts Marwan Mohsen fell down the pecking order, scored twice in the second half and had a hand in another goal, which was scored by winger Mahmoud Kahraba.
Ahly, who are eyeing a sixth consecutive league crown, are only one of three teams to bag maximum six points from two games, along with Aswan and top-flight debutants Ceramica Cleopatra.
The Red Devils missed coach Pitso Mosimane against Mahalla after the South African contracted COVID-19.
They wasted a slew of goal-scoring chances in the first half, with Kahraba narrowly missing the target with a low after breaking clear on 10 minutes and off-form Angolan winger Geraldo heading just wide from an inviting Ali Maaloul cross in the 33rd minute.
Five minutes before the break, a snap shot from playmaker Magdi Afsha was parried by Mahalla keeper Mohamed El-Beshbeshi into the path of Sherif, who failed to make proper contact with the goal at his mercy.
Although the first half ended goalless, there was an air of invincibility over what was to happen next as Ahly broke the deadlock on 49 minutes, Sherif making the most of a needless rush out by El-Beshbeshi to round him on the edge of the area and drill into an empty net.
Twenty minutes later, Sherif's header from a pinpoint cross struck the bar and fell to Kahraba, who volleyed home with aplomb.
Sherif ended the match as a contest with 10 minutes remaining after another mistake from El-Beshbeshi, who also naively charged out as Afsha pulled the ball back to the forward to slot into the unguarded net.
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