Ahly host ENPPI as Egyptian league continues despite riots

Mahmoud Elassal, Sunday 10 Mar 2013

Ahly will face Group A leaders ENPPI on Sunday despite Saturday’s riots following the Port Said case verdic



Egyptian Premier League games will continue as scheduled despite Saturday’s riots that saw angry protesters torch two buildings, including the Egyptian Football Association headquarters, the EFA announced.

Stuttering Ahly will face Group A leaders ENPPI on Sunday evening, just one day after a verdict in the Port Said trial sparked riots in Cairo.

Ahly’s hardcore supporters vented their anger at the acquittals of seven security officials by setting the EFA premises and a police social club on fire, prompting the EFA board of directors to hold an emergency meeting to discuss the possibility of halting domestic football activity.

However, they eventually decided to stick to the league schedule, citing “huge losses” Egyptian football will suffer if the premier domestic competition is delayed or cancelled.

Ahly will be looking to make up for a stunning 3-0 defeat by Harras El-Hodoud when they face an in-form ENPPI side who top Group A with 12 points, three ahead of Sunday’s opponents who have a game in hand.

Title holders Ahly, who are eyeing an eighth consecutive title, are still finding it hard to cope with the loss of several key players, some of whom departed in January while others sustained serious injuries.

They made their worst league start since 2003, slumping to two defeats in their first five games. Their depleted midfield will miss Shehab Ahmed, who suffered a knee complaint during training on Friday.

''We play in a very difficult group but the team will compete until the end of the season," El-Badry was quoted as saying on the club's official website on Thursday.

Petroleum side ENPPI, who smashed Haras El-Hodoud 4-0 last week, are also keen on to maintain their unbeaten start to the season.

"The game against ENPPI is expected to be difficult but we will fight until the end of the season as we don't want to count on the results of other teams," El-Badry added.

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