Ahly fail to go top with dull draw at Mouloudia

Hatem Maher, Monday 29 Aug 2011

Ahly waste chance to go top of Group B after playing out a dull goalless draw with Mouloudia Alger in Sunday’s CAF Champions League tie

Mouloudia 0-0 Ahly

Ahly missed out on the chance of moving top of Group B after settling for a goalless draw at Mouloudia Alger in a dour CAF Champions League encounter on Sunday.

The Red Devils were given a timely chance to climb to the summit after Tunisia’s Esperance were held to another goalless draw at home to Moroccan outfit Wydad Casablanca on Saturday.

However, they failed to trouble Mouloudia throughout the 90 minutes and were also lucky to avoid conceding a goal in the first half.

Ahly, who are chasing a record-extending seventh Champions League title, remained third in the group on five points with two matches to go. They are one point behind leading duo Wydad and Esperance.

Mouloudia, who virtually lost hopes of reaching the semifinals of Africa’s premier club competition, lie at the bottom with two points.

Influential duo  

Ahly, missing influential duo Ahmed Fathi and Hossam Ghaly due to suspension, looked nowhere near their best, creating a couple of half-chances early on before being put on the back foot by a determined Mouloudia side.

The hosts, motivated by the enthusiastic home crowd at 5 July Stadium, pumped life into a dull first half on 33 minutes when Burkina Faso forward Herve Oussale broke clear of defense after latching onto a threaded pass from Billel Attafen but his shot was blocked by advancing keeper Ahmed Adel.

Lively playmaker Attafen and the combative Oussale combined on other occasions to unsettle Ahly’s three-man defense, which featured debutant Mohamed Naguib who arrived form Ittihad El-Shorta in the close season.

Oussale wasted another clear-cut opportunity in the 34th minute when his long-range header missed an empty net after Adel parried a cross into his path.

Mouloudia’s full-back Mohamed Babouche also went close with a powerful free kick that narrowly missed the target five minutes before the break.

Ahly remained sluggish after the restart, with veteran playmaker Mohamed Abou-Treika struggling to feed strike duo Emad Meteb and Mohamed Nagy ‘Gedo’. He was replaced by newly-arrived playmaker Walid Soliman midway through the second half.

The visitors’ defensive-minded duo Mohamed Shawky and Hossam Ashour, who played in central midfield, could not also make their presence felt.

Mouloudia kept the upper hand in terms of possession but did not mount serious threats as the match ended goalless.

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