Ahly’s African Super Cup triumph is likely to ease pressure on beleaguered coach Mohamed Youssef after his side put aside their poor domestic run to beat Tunisia’s Sfaxien 3-2 in a thrilling game in Cairo on Thursday.
Promising forward Amr Gamal, who came through the youth ranks of Ahly, scored twice and Mohamed ‘Gedo’ Nagy was also on target as Ahly secured a sixth Super Cup title - their second in a row.
Speculation was rife that Youssef would be shown the door if Ahly had failed to overcome Sfaxien amid reports linking the club with a move for Portuguese coach Manuel Jose, a revered figure among the club’s faithful who led the Red Devils to a host of titles during three spells.
However, Thursday’s victory came in a timely manner for Youssef, earning him an apparent respite.
“The technical staff did not care about all the recent talks,” Youssef told the post-match news conference, referring to rumours over his future.
“The players were also not affected by the Egyptian league results. The return of some key players following injury, such as Ahmed Fathi and Gedo, was also crucial in helping us to win.”
Ahly played before around 30,000 enthusiastic supporters, who created a carnival atmosphere during the game at Cairo Stadium but the night turned sour when they clashed with security forces following the final whistle.
“The fan presence was very important. They were sorely missed in our league games but tonight they played a key role in our victory,” Youssef added.
The 43-year-old was also full of praise of skipper Wael Gomaa, who announced after the game that he would retire from football at the end of the season.
“Gomaa is one of the best defenders in the history of Africa. History will always remember the titles he won with Ahly and the Egyptian national team,” he said.
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