Preveiw: Ahly coach Mosimane facing rare criticism after surprise draw

Ahram Online , Wednesday 20 Jan 2021

Ahly will be looking to atone for their 0-0 draw with NBE when they meet Arab Contractors in the Egyptian Premier League on Thursday

Pitso Mosimane

Ahly coach Pitso Mosimane, who delivered the team's long-awaited African Champions League crown last season, is facing rare criticism after a surprise draw in the Egyptian Premier League as the team look to make amends against Arab Contractors on Thursday.

The Red Devils, who are eyeing a sixth straight league title, failed to break down top-flight debutants National Bank of Egypt (NBE) in a 0-0 draw last Sunday, with Ahly dropping points for the second time in their opening seven games.

The draw left them second in the table with 17 points, two behind leaders and perennial Cairo rivals Zamalek.

Mosimane was criticised by many fans for tweaking with his starting line-up too often, initially playing without a recognised striker against NBE -- a decision which looked to have backfired as Ahly were largely toothless upfront.

The South African was also blamed for an injury that Walid Soliman, who was fielded as a lone frontman, picked up against NBE. The veteran winger carried on for a few minutes after hurting his hamstring but he eventually asked to be substituted.

Pundits said Mosimane should have taken him off immediately after he suffered the injury.

"Difficult day it was, results, weather and other things you can't control. No storm lasts forever, just weather it and soon it will be sunny, just like difficult times," the former Mamelodi Sundowns boss said on Twitter.

"We will have distractions, but we will keep the focus on the target."

Arab Contractors, who finished fourth last season, kicked off their new campaign in disappointing fashion, having collected just seven points from their opening seven matches.

They sit 14th in the 18-team table but showed signs of recovery with a 1-0 win over Ismaily on Monday.

Ahly will be eager to atone for the draw with NBE by beating Contractors. They are also keen on boosting their morale ahead of their Club World Cup campaign next month.

The record nine-time African champions will fly to Qatar to take part in the annual tournament for the sixth time following their domestic league match against Pyramids FC on 26 January.

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