THE CLASH with arch-rivals Zamalek is crucial if Ahli are to claim their fifth successive football league title, reports Ahmed Morsy.
Ahli's draw with Spinning Mehalla and Ismaili's win over Ittihad heated up the title chase.
Ismaili currently lie first on 54 points from 27 games, two points ahead of Ahli who have two games in hand. The league is 30 games.
Hence, the Egyptian derby on 23 April between title holders Ahli and Zamalek has reached the point of no return.
Ahli cannot afford to surrender any points if they are to claim their fifth successive title. They are now second in the league table with 52 points out of 25 games.
Zamalek, out of the race picture, lie sixth on 37 points out of 26 games. They can neither win the league crown or the cup so their only hope of a year-ending success story is to beat Ahli and deprive them of claiming the league title.
Ahli have demonstrated out-and-out superiority in the Cairo derby over the past several years. Zamalek have not beaten Ahli in the last 16 derbies, spanning five consecutive years.
After a host of horrendous performances and recurrent losses, Zamalek have recently pulled themselves together and are looking to finishing their domestic campaign as high as possible. Zamalek's rookie players will probably be less nervous than Ahli's on the assumption they have nothing to lose and would not be blamed if they did.
If they win, it will be a declaration of the birth a new generation of players who are capable of outdoing the Red Devils.
To the same extent, Ismaili will try to win all their remaining matches to keep their title hopes alive in the two-horse race.
Zamalek, Egypt Telecom and Tersana are the four teams Ricardo Ferreira's side will have to beat, which is no mission impossible.