Substitute Sherif gives Ahly hard-fought win before Cairo derby

Hatem Maher , Sunday 31 Oct 2021

Mohamed Sherif scored less than 10 minutes following his second-half introduction as Ahly secured a hard-fought 1-0 victory over a resilient NBE side in their second Egyptian Premier League game on Sunday.

Mohamed Sherif (C) celebrates his winner against NBE (Photo: Ahly s official Twitter account)

The 25-year-old, who surprisingly fell out of favour this season despite his goal-scoring exploits last term, proved coach Pitso Mosimane wrong after netting with a trademark poacher's effort two minutes past the hour mark.

Ahly survived some scares late on to finally beat NBE on the third attempt after being held to two draws by their unfancied opponents last season.

They moved level on six points with holders Zamalek and Pyramids FC, who both bagged maximum points from their opening two matches.

Ahly next meet Zamalek in a mouthwatering Cairo derby clash on Friday.

Unfamiliar strategy

Mosimane adopted an unfamiliar strategy that failed to pay dividends in a poor first half, playing with a 3-4-3 scheme that NBE's massed ranks at the back easily dealt with.

All eyes were on Ahly's new forward Percy Tau, who scored twice on his debut as Ahly crushed Ismaily 4-0 last week, but the South African was well shackled upfront and found little service from Mozambican winger Luis Miquissone and playmaker Magdi Afsha.

The only real chance in the first half fell to the visitors when Ahly keeper Ali Lotfi, deputizing for the injured Mohamed El-Shennawi, mis-judged a cross that found NBE's Ahmed Said at the far post, but an offside teammate bizarrely intercepted his shot on its way into the back of the net.

Mosimane reshuffled his side in the second half, switching back to a familiar 4-2-3-1 formation and introducing Sherif and winger Hussein El-Shahat.

Sherif headed over the bar from an Ali Maaloul cross on 55 minutes but made amends seven minutes later, stabbing the ball into an empty net after NBE keeper Mahmoud El-Zonfoli had fumbled an innocuous shot from midfielder Amr El-Sulaya.

NBE mounted a late onslaught that almost yielded an equaliser when Mohamed Helal ghosted behind the static Maaloul to run onto a quickly-taken throw-in and break clear, only to see his low shot smothered by the advancing Lotfi.

Lotfi was at fault in stoppage time though when he failed to clear a low cross but Maaloul made a last-ditch interception to clear the danger as Ahly breathed a sigh of relief.

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