Did it again
Ahli once more beat Zamalek, this time lifting the Egyptian Super Cup, Ahmed Morsy reports
For the second time in one week Ahli beat arch-rivals Zamalek. The first victory was 2-1 in the first game of the group stage of the African Champions League. They did it again in the final of the Egyptian Super Cup final on Sunday, this time 2-0.
After a scoreless first half, Egypt captain Ahmed Hassan, playing his second game with Ahli, gave the Red Devils the lead two minutes into the second half when Mohamed Barakat set up Hassan with a slick through pass that the latter tucked in at the far post.
Zamalek looked more dangerous after the goal especially after their new coach Reiner Hollmann fielded striker Sherif Ashraf and Mustafa Gaafar. In the 58th minute, Zamalek were denied a penalty claim when Ahmed Abdul-Raouf lost his footing in the area after goalkeeper Amir Abdel-Hamid's slight contact with him but the Austrian referee Fritz Stuchlik waved play on.
One minute later, Stuchlik then ruled out Junior Agogo's goal for an offside, and almost immediately the Tunisian defender Wissem El Abdi was given his marching orders. El-Abdi picked up his second yellow card for hitting Hassan without the ball.
Ahli picked up their game late and grabbed a second goal through dead-ball specialist and former Zamalek midfielder Moetaz Eno who pounced on a clearance from Zamalek's defence and volleyed home from the edge of the area to double the score one minute from the final whistle.
Despite the win, the Egyptian champions were without several key players, including Mohamed Abu Treika, Emad Meteb, Gilberto, Emad El-Nahhas and Ahmed Fathi. Among the Zamalek absentees were Gamal Hamza, Shikabala, Mohamed Abul Eala, Ahmed Ghanem Sultan and Abdel-Halim Ali.
Hollman, who lost his second straight game to Zamalek, pointed a finger at the refereeing once again. "The referee killed us. I can't believe he is registered by FIFA," Hollman said in a post-match press conference.
"This referee should go back to his country by bus after his awful performance today. He was not focused on the game at all. We had a clear penalty in the second half, and we had a valid goal disallowed after that," he added.
"I can tell you that my contract with Zamalek will only last one month if things remain the way they are. We lost two games because of refereeing."
Ahli assistant coach Hossam El-Badri said he believed the newcomers will further boost the team. "We played a good game and forced our own style, and I think that the team will be boosted by newcomers and players returning from injury," said El-Badri.
"The game was tactically tough, but I think that we deserved our victory," he stated.
El-Badri disagreed with Hollman's criticism of the performance of referee Stuchlik after the latter turned down a penalty for the Whites and disallowed Junior Agogo's goal for offside.
"I think Hollman should watch the incidents again. There was no penalty and the goal was offside," El-Badri added.
The triumph boosted the tally of Ahli's Super Cup. They have now won the championship, which pits the league and cup winners, five times, the last four in succession. Zamalek have taken it twice.