Preview: Ahly out to ease jitters in Pyramids FC clash

Ahram Online , Sunday 1 Jan 2023

Ahly will be looking to put an end to a recent poor run and ease their jitters when they meet Pyramids FC in a high-profile clash in the Egyptian Premier League at Cairo's International Stadium on Monday.

Ahly v Pyramids

Three draws in Ahly's last four games have allowed defending champions Zamalek to pull level on points with them on top, raising doubts over the Red Devils' ability to wrestle the title back from their perennial Cairo rivals.

Zamalek won the league the past two seasons in similar fashion, storming back to bridge a significant gap with Ahly and snatch the title.

Ahly's recent form has also increased pressure on Swiss coach Marcel Koller, with the team looking toothless upfront and porous at the back.

They will host Pyramids at Cairo's International Stadium upon a request from Koller, who criticised the state of the pitch of Al-Salam venue, which hosts most of their home games.

Ahly were held to a 1-1 draw by Ceramica Cleopatra in their previous game last week. Koller said his side were guilty of spurning some easy chances, adding that no striker had convinced him he is good enough after South African forward Percy Tau had picked up an injury.

Fourth-placed Pyramids, who are four points behind Ahly, will be looking for a vital win that will revive their chances of challenging Ahly and Zamalek for the coveted title.

Local reports said the game will mark the final appearance of veteran schemer Abdallah El-Said with Pyramids as he is linked with a January move to Zamalek.

The 37-year-old, an ex-Ahly playmaker, remains a key member of Pyramids' squad.

Pyramids have had the upper hand in their duels with Ahly since the club was bought by Saudi Arabia's Turki Al-Sheikh in 2018. It was sold to Emirati investor Salem Al-Shamsi a year later.

They won four, lost three and drew three games. Their last meeting with Ahly saw Pyramids claim a 2-0 league win in July last year.

Polish official Szymon Marciniak, who refereed the World Cup final between Argentina and France, will take charge of Monday's clash upon a request from Pyramids.

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