Preview: Ahly face tough test against Mahalla at bogey ground

Mahmoud Elassal , Sunday 21 Nov 2021

Ahly will be looking to lay to rest the ghosts of Ghazl El-Mahalla's stadium when both sides meet in the Egyptian Premier League on Monday.

Ahly's Striker Mohamed Sherif during the match against Ghazl El-Mahalla. Al-Ahram

Ahly's last victory over Mahalla at their bogey stadium was in February 2008, when now-retired Angolan striker Amado Flavio scored a scrappy winner.

Ghazl El-Mahalla claimed the scalp of Cairo giants Ahly and Zamalek at the same stadium last season despite finishing 14th in the league table. 

League leaders Ahly are eager to extend their perfect start this season but they will be cautious to avoid the challenge they face at Mahalla's venue.

Ahly claimed four wins out of four league games this season, including comprehensive 4-0 and 5-3 wins over Ismaily and title holders Zamalek respectively to move top with maximum 12 points.  

"We will prepare well for Ghazl El-Mahalla game to extend our perfect start this season," Ahly coach Pitso Mosimane was quoted as saying on the club's official website.

Ahly will do without midfielder Hamdi Fathi after he was sent off during the 1-0 win over Arab Contractors in their previous game on Friday.

"Hamdi Fathi can play in many places and we will lose one of the most important players in the squad but we still have replacements," Mosimane added.

Mahalla are 4th in the table with eight points, as they opened their campaign with a 1-1 draw with Masry, 3-2 win over Eastern Company, 3-0 win over Enppi and goalless draw with Egyptian Super Cup winners Talae El-Geish.

Ahly and Mahalla have a long history; in the 93 games the two sides squared-off in, the Red Devils claimed 51 victories while the Peasants managed to only snatch 12 wins, with the remaining 30 games ending in a draw.

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