Ahly dent Zamalek's league hopes with 3-0 Cairo derby win

Hatem Maher , Saturday 21 Jan 2023

Mahmoud Kahraba scored against his ex-club and substitute Mohamed Sherif added a late brace as Ahly claimed the Cairo derby's bragging rights with an impressive 3-0 win over Zamalek on Saturday, dealing a severe blow to their rivals' Egyptian Premier League hopes.

Kahraba and Sherif
Mahmoud Kahraba and Mohamed Sherif scored Ahly s goals against Zamalek. Photo: Ahly twitter account


After a dull first half ended goalless, the match sprang into life after the break when Kahraba, on only his second match after returning from a six-month suspension, opened the scoring following a defensive lapse on 61 minutes.

He made way for Sherif a few minutes later and the striker, who has been criticised for a number of below-par displays this season, killed off Zamalek's hopes with a well-taken double as the White Knights' defence was left in tatters.

Ahly's midfield linchpin Hamdi Fathi dictated play with an all-round display despite having just returned from injury as the team looked barely affected by a raft of injuries that hit some key players, including central defensive duo Mohamed Abdel-Moneim and Yasser Ibrahim.

The Red Devils, who top the table with 34 points from 14 games, increased their lead over fourth-placed and defending champions Zamalek to eight points. Future are second on 30 points, with Pyramids third on 27.

The defeat will heap more pressure on Zamalek's Portuguese coach Jesualdo Ferreira, who masterminded an unlikely league triumph last term but looks to be struggling this season, with his tactics blamed for a number of lackluster performances.

Zamalek's outspoken chairman Mortada Mansour said on Facebook that the club's board will convene later in the day to discuss Ferreira's future after the team extended their league winless run to four matches.

Scrappy affair

The first half was a scrappy affair as both sides struggled to get going, playing it safe by tightening up at the back.

A couple of half-chances at both ends failed to trouble the keepers before Ahly playmaker Magdi Afsha had the first real opportunity when his shot from inside the area went just over the crossbar following a pull-back from winger Ahmed Abdel-Kader.

At the other end, a long-range thunderbolt from Zamalek's central midfielder Nabil Emad forced a superb save from keeper Mohamed El-Shennawi from under his crossbar.

A bizarre Ahly chance was denied by the woodwork just before the break.

Hussein El-Shahat threaded a defence-splitting pass that Hamdi Fathi, who was just onside, failed to get on the end of it. The ball then rolled past the keeper and hit the post before going out.

Both sides remained cautious in the early stages of the second half but Kahraba, who served a lengthy ban imposed by FIFA for breaching his contract with Zamalek in 2019, haunted his former club to break the deadlock.

Fathi was found by a pinpoint long ball from El-Shahat to nod the ball to the unmarked Kahraba, who headed home from close range.

Zamalek failed to step up a gear despite falling behind and their hopes of getting something from the game were extinguished in the 75th minute when defender Mostafa El-Zannari failed to clear an innocuous low cross from the right and Sherif pounced with a low, right-footed finish into the bottom corner.

Sherif took his tally to six goals in the derby just before the end when another first-timer, this time with his left foot, went into the roof of the net following a cut-back from Tunisian left-back Ali Maaloul, sparking wild celebrations in the Ahly stands.

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