Shikabala’s stunner was not enough as Mohamed Sherif netted a brace and Ali Lotfi saved a penalty to grab Al Ahly the three points in the Cairo derby.
Zamalek hosted arch-rivals Zamalek in the Cairo derby in a game that was postponed from matchday 4 of the Egyptian Premier League.
The Reds entered the game without several of their key players, most notably Ali Maaloul, Mohamed El-Shennawy, Mohamed Hany, Hamdi Fathi, Junior Ajayi, unlike their opponents, who had a full squad.
Pitso Mosimane was forced to start with the likes of Ali Lotfi between the sticks, Ahmed Ramadan Beckham at right-back, Rami Rabia in defence, and Ayman Ashraf starting at left-back.
Meanwhile, the rest of the midfield saw regular names like Aliou Dieng, Amr El-Sulya, Mohamed Magdy Afsha, and Mohamed Sherif.
On the other hand, the only change made in Zamalek starting XI was that Ahmed Fetouh surprisingly replaced both Mohamed Abdelshafy and Abdallah Gomaa at left-back.
Just seconds into the game, Mohamed Sherif nearly gave Al Ahly a very early lead after he met a low cross from Ayman Ashraf; however, his shot went just inches wide.
The first 15 minutes was totally dominated by the Reds and saw them create chances on the wings through Taher and El-Shahat, but without any real threat on Gennesh’s net.
The Whites recovered and just needed a stunning trademark finish from Shikabala, similar to the one in the CAF Champions League final, in order to be back level just inside the half-hour mark.
Following the goal, the players went to have a short water break and instantly after the restart, Mohamed Sherif was the hero for the Reds’ once again fired a rocket from distance to restore the lead for Al Ahly.
The remaining minutes of the first period saw Obama miss two chances for the hosts, while Gennesh parried away Taher Mohamed’s shot, as both sides headed into the tunnels with a 2-1 lead to Al Ahly.
In order to strengthen his attack, Patrice Carteron introduced both Ahmed Sayed Zizo and Seifeddine Jaziri for Shikabala and Marwan Hamdi in hopes of getting something out of the game.
The decision almost saw an instant success when Ahmed Sayed Zizo launched a strike from the edge of the box, but it was saved easily by Ali Lotfi.
In the 56th minute, Jaziri fell inside the penalty area following an inch perfect pass from Ferjani Sassi. The Tunisian was brought down inside the penalty area by Rami Rabia, which led El-Banna to award the Whites a penalty after consulting the VAR.
Despite scoring twice from the spot just less than a week ago in the Egypt Cup, penalty specialist Mahmoud Alaa was denied by Ali Lotfi, with the rebound fired way over the bar by Sassi.
Zamalek totally dominated the second half and left Al Ahly no chance to get out from their own half, but Al Ahly’s defence was solid and maintained their shape until the 94th minute.
With just seconds left on the final whistle, Zamalek won a corner, which was whipped inside the penalty area. Mahmoud Alaa went above all of Al Ahly defenders, but was once against denied by Lotfi, who produced a spectacular save to earn Al Ahly the victory.
Following the game, Zamalek sit top of the Egyptian Premier League with 33 points, three ahead of Al Ahly; however, the latter have three games in hand.
The Reds will now prepare for the next encounter with Smouha on Wednesday, April 21, while Zamalek will face Entag El-Harby a day later. https://www.kingfut.com/