Saturday,17 November, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1353, (20 - 26 July 2017)
Saturday,17 November, 2018
Issue 1353, (20 - 26 July 2017)

Ahram Weekly

Football finale

The Red Devils destroy the White Knights in the last game of the domestic league season, reports Marawan Zayed

 

Zamalek and Ahly
Zamalek and Ahly

A brilliant performance from Ahly saw them demolish their fierce rivals Zamalek in the last game of the season as they won 2-0 in a one-sided game that could have witnessed more goals from the champions who secured the domestic league title one month earlier.

Ahly, who went undefeated throughout the season, controlled the game in Borg Al-Arab Stadium on Monday from the very first second till the last kick of the game. The result would not have changed the position of either team as Ahly, with the win, were crowned the champions with 84 points from 34 games while Zamalek, the White Knights, finished third with 66 points. A brilliant Maqasa side finished the season with 74 points.

Still this Egyptian derby is always a trophy on its own given the name and rivalry of these two Egyptian giants. There was an extra motive for Coach Hossam Al-Badri and his players to finish the season unbeaten for the seventh time in their history while Zamalek’s Portuguese Coach Augusto Inassio’s players hoped to end the season on a high note by beating the champions.

However, the Red Devils seemed extremely focused and confident as they started the game brightly and attacked aggressively and missed chance after chance until they scored the first goal of the game in the 41st minute through Walid Suleiman. A magnificent long ball from the magician Saleh Gomaa found Junior Agayei who laid the ball brilliantly with his head to the oncoming Suleiman who slotted it home with a cool half volley to give his side a well-deserved lead.

In the remaining few minutes of the first half, the Devils could have easily added two more goals through Momen Zakaria and Gomaa but couldn’t find the way to the net as the brilliant on the night newcomer goalkeeper Omar Salah saved at least five certain goals in the first 45 minutes. The young goalkeeper who started, as both Ahmed Al-Shinnawi and Gennesh weren’t fit enough, was undoubtedly the star of his team as he didn’t seem afraid or fazed by the occasion and made save after save to save his team from an embarrassing loss.

The second half started quietly as Ahly players kept rolling the ball without any pressure from their out of sorts opponents but came very close to adding a second when Salah denied Hossam Ghali with an amazing save from the captain’s thunderbolt from outside the box before Zakaria missed a clear cut chance to kill off the game when he missed the goal from seven yards out after some great work from Agayei and Nabil Maaloul.

Salah made another great save from Suleiman a few minutes before the end of the game as the young goalkeeper seemed determined to keep his side in the match. However, there was nothing he could do in the 89th as man of the match Agayei scored one of the goals of the season. A long loose ball from Ahmed Fathi found Agayei who controlled the ball brilliantly and found Abdullah Al-Said on the left flank with an incredible pass. Agayei continued his run inside the box and received the ball from Al-Said inside the box and delightfully and in cool fashion placed the ball in the top right corner leaving Salah with absolutely no chance.

It was nothing less than what Agayei and his side deserved as they finished the season in ideal fashion. It was the first time in 10 years Ahly had beaten Zamalek home and away in one season. The first leg also ended 2-0 for Ahly.

2007 was the last time Zamalek managed to defeat Ahly in the league. That season, Ahly had already bagged the league and thus fielded substitutes.

It’s worth mentioning that Ahly played the game without their best defender Ahmed Hegazi who completed his surprise transfer to West Bromwich Albion on the same day of the game, and immediately travelled to meet his new teammates in Hong Kong. Hegazi joined fellow Egyptian stars Mohamed Salah, Mohamed Al-Nenni and Ramadan Sobhi in the Premier League and hopefully the powerful defender will settle in quickly and shine for his new club. The deal is a one-year loan for £1 million with an option to buy for £4 million at the end of the season.

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