Preview: Ahly face Bani Suef Telephones with an eye on African Super Cup

Mahmoud Elassal, Sunday 17 Feb 2013

The defending champions want to return to winning ways before the Africa Super Cup showdown

Elsayed Hamdy (C) of Egypt's Ahly celebrates with teammates after scoring against Japan's Sanfrecce Hiroshima during their Club World Cup soccer match in Toyota, central Japan December 9, 2012. (photo: Reurers)

Ahly will be eager to bounce back from a surprising defeat when they take Bani Suef Telephones, who are enjoying a fine run of form, in the Egyptian Premier League on Monday.

The Red Devils are also looking to approach the African Super Cup game against AC Leopards of Congo on 23 February in a better shape, having slumped to a stunning 1-0 defeat by Smouha in their third league match.

Coach Hossam El-Badry is still working on a new formula after the departure of some of his top stars including classy playmaker Mohamed Abou-Treika, striker Mohamed Nagy ‘Gedo’ and versatile wing-back Ahmed Fathi.

A toothless Ahly side have lacked spark and creativity since the beginning of the season. They could only claim unconvincing 1-0 wins over Ghazl El-Mahalla and Wadi Degla before their frailties were exposed against Smouha.

“We have to wait until the return of some players. We have to wait until the next transfer window to add new players in order to regain our balance,” El-Badry told reporters following the loss to Smouha.

“We should stand by the current crop of players, however, in the coming difficult period. We will also have to work on our attack because we waste too many easy chances. It’s something we have to sort especially ahead of the African Super Cup.” he added.

The forwards have been highly inefficient in front of goal lately as Emaf Meteb is way past his prime, Al-Sayed Hamdi’s luck seems to be running out and Abdallah El-Saied’s trademark thunderbolts are not as accurate as they used to be.

New signing Ahmed Abdel-Zaher is yet to be given the chance to prove his worth, having only made a cameo appearance in the second half against Smouha.

Ahly will only miss long-term absentees Hossam Ghaly, Sayed Moawad and Walid Soliman when they take on Bani Suef Telephones.

The Cairo giants are expected to face a stiff competition, with Bani Suef in a fine form after collecting four points from two games. Ahly, who lie third in Group A, have six points from three matches.

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