VIDEO: Three red cards as below-par Ahly overcome Mahalla

Omar Zaazou, Thursday 6 Feb 2014

An unimpressive Ahly edge out Ghazl El-Mahalla 1-0 in a game witnessing three red cards

Mohamed Yousef
Ahly coach unsatisfied with below-par display

A lacklustre Ahly side registered an unimpressive 1-0 Egyptian Premier League win over Ghazl El-Mahalla in a game that witnessed the dismissal of three players.

Abdallah El-Saied scored the sole goal of the game from the spot to help Ahly bounce back from two league defeats and become level on points with Group A leaders Arab Contractors.

The characteristic feature of the match, however, was rather the sending off of two Mahalla players and one man from Ahly – with Egypt center-half Wael Gomaa the first to receive his marching orders after 22 minutes.

But Mahalla didn't enjoy their numerical advantage for long, with forward Saad Abdel-Aati "Mando" dismissed on the half-hour mark after being handed his second yellow card.

Near the end, another forward, Mahmoud Bazid, also saw red for another two bookable offences as Mahalla played nine minutes with nine men.

Ahly manager Mohamed Youssef fielded 17-year-old youngster Ramadan Sobhy alongside striker Ahmed Raouf as Mahmoud "Trezeguet" and El-Sayed Hamdy had been left out.

Ahly now hold second place in their group, trailing Arab Contractors by goal difference, as Mahalla remain languishing in ninth place with four points.

Two dismissals

Ahly dictated play outright, laying siege to Mahalla's area as the hosts' first chance came through debutant Sobhy, whose strike missed the target.

The 12th minute then witnessed a big chance for Ahly, with a Mahalla defender clearing the ball off the line after El-Saied's initial shot from the left was palmed by the keeper.

The Cairo giants, however, were dealt a major blow nine minutes later when Gomaa, who was sent off against Contractors a fortnight ago, saw red again, this time for tugging a clear-on-goal Hossam Arafat.

Despite the numerical advantage, Mahalla didn't seem determined to make the most of their additional man until they also lost Mando 10 minutes later.  

Mando was sent off for a second bookable offence after tripping midfielder Shehab Ahmed as both teams continued to play with ten men.

El-Saied goal

An insipid second half saw Ahly maintain their dominance, albeit without creating many clear-cut chances.

The 57th minute saw midfielder Ahmed Shokry hit a close-range strike that was blocked by the keeper. El-Saied saw another shot miss the target after brilliantly turning, holding off his maker.

It wasn't until the 64th minute that the Reds went ahead, after striker Raouf was brought down inside the box as the referee pointed to the spot.

El-Saied made no mistake from nine yards, sending the keeper the wrong way for Ahly's opener of the night.

Despite taking the lead, the African champions didn't redeem themselves much – still struggling to pose any real threat to their lowly opponents' goal.

Even the dismissal of Bazid five minutes from regular time didn't change Ahly's lame approach, satisfied with their slender lead. 

Abdallah El-Saied's spot-kick goal

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