Thursday,25 April, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1376, (11-17 January 2018)
Thursday,25 April, 2019
Issue 1376, (11-17 January 2018)

Ahram Weekly

Red raiders

Ahly crushed arch-nemesis Zamalek 3-0 in their league derby to take command of first place, reports Abeer Anwar

Walid Azzaro seals his team’s 3-0 victory

For the first time this league season, defending champions Ahly took sole position of first place in the standings after trouncing their usual rivals Zamalek 3-0 in Cairo Stadium on Monday night.

Ahly snatched a goal in only the second minute through Momen Zakariya who was playing his final match for Ahly before moving to Jeddah-based club Ahly on loan until the end of the season. The White Knights did not let the early goal get them down and took midfield control of the match but without posing a serious threat to the Ahly goal.

Zamalek had a golden chance to level the score when they were awarded a penalty in the 31st minute but striker Bassem Morsi who was playing for the first time in months, wasted it after Ahly goalkeeper Mohamed Al-Shennawi pushed the shot aside.

Walid Azzaro seals his t Al-Badri serious on the line

It was the turn of the Red Devils to receive a penalty three minutes before the break which Abdullah Said converted to give Ahly a 2-0 lead at halftime.

Moroccan striker Walid Azzaro scored the third for Ahly in the 54th minute after a brilliant assist from winger Walid Suleiman.

Zamalek had to complete the match with 10 men after substitute Mohamed Ibrahim was sent off for a second yellow card.

This was the 17th time Ahly had beaten Zamalek since 2007. Since then, Zamalek could only defeat Ahly twice, in the Egypt Cup, and once in the domestic Super Cup.

Zamalek’s board of members, headed by chairman Mortada Mansour, dismissed Montenegrian coach Nebojsa Jovovic just last week and only five months after his appointment. The decision came after their 1-0 loss to lowly Talaea Al-Geish.

The 43-year-old Jovovic took the helm at Zamalek in August shortly after helping Jordan’s Al-Faisaly win the Arab Championship in Cairo in a remarkable run that included two victories over Ahly.

But under Jovovic’s guidance, Zamalek were shaky. Following Monday’s whitewash, they are now in fourth place with 28 points, 11 less than Ahly who are in the lead for the first time this season, two points ahead of second place Ismaili. The league has reached the midway point after 16 games.

Two days after his appointment as Zamalek’s new manager, Ehab Galal, former Enppi head coach, started his new mission with the toughest match conceivable, against archrivals Ahly.

Moemen Zakaria opens the score for Ahly (below)

Galal ended his Enppi contract after paying a buy-out clause, but the amount was not disclosed. He cut his two-year contract with Enppi after a year and a half, receiving stinging rebukes from Enppi officials for what they considered a “disrespectful attitude” to leave a team in the middle of league matches.
Despite his late appointment, Galal declared that he was up to the challenge affirming that he would do his best to help the team earn a positive result against the title holders.

A positive result against Ahly would have helped Galal work without pressure as well as boost the morale of the team’s players after a catastrophic half-season that saw the White Knights lose 24 points in 16 games. His dream was to stop Zamalek’s losing streak against Ahly in the league.

The 50-year-old coach rose to fame as a manager after an extraordinary campaign with Maqassa last season, helping them finish runners-up to league champions Ahly to earn a historic African Champions League spot but resigned in the summer after a clash with Maqassa’s chairman over the club’s policy in the transfer market.

Galal took over at Enppi in October and made an instant impact, steering the club to six wins, four draws and only one loss in 11 matches, which came against title holders Ahly.

“I will be fully responsible for the Ahly match,” Galal had told Zamalek’s official Website. “I am confident of the players’ ability to produce top-level football and win over the fans.”

Despite their shaky performance during the past few weeks, Ahly regained confidence after hammering lowly side Nasr 4-0 on Tuesday.

With many talented and experienced players such as Said, Suleiman and Ahmed Fathi, Ahly were the logical favourites to earn a win against Zamalek.

The title holders headed to Cairo Stadium with their full squad. Coach Hossam Al-Badri announced a list of 31 players that saw the absence of injured defender Mohamed Naguib and keeper Sherif Ekrami.

Ahly will now meet Masri in the Super Cup to be played in the United Arab Emirates on Friday 12 January. The cup pits the winners of the league and the cup.

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