Ahly goalkeeper Abdulhamid defies dominant ASEC

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ABIDJAN: Goalkeeper Amir Abdel-Hamid made a series of superb saves to help Ahly force a 0-0 draw with dominant ASEC Mimosas of Ivory Coast Saturday in the African Champions League.

He repeatedly thwarted the home team at palm tree-lined Robert Champroux Stadium in the Ivorian capital to earn the ‘Red Devils’ from Cairo a precious point from their first Group A away outing.

Luck also favored Ahly as Jean-Paul Mangoua Kesse was millimeters wide with a low first-half shot that eluded Abdel-Hamid and the woodwork rescued the North Africans after the break.

Mangoua Kesse had a chance to snatch victory four minutes into stoppage time on a windy afternoon in the coastal city, but failed to get much power behind a header and a perfectly positioned goalkeeper clutched the ball.

Ahly came closest to snatching an undeserved victory five minutes into the second half when recent signing Ahmed Hassan found himself unmarked at the far post only to nod a cross wide.

While 1998 champions ASEC have to view the result as two points dropped, an Ahly team lacking injured stars Mohamed Abou-Trika and Emad Meteb will be satisfied with the point that keeps them top of the standings.

Ahly have four points, Dynamos of Zimbabwe three, ASEC one and Zamalek of Egypt, who share with Ahly the record of five Champions League titles, are pointless.

Zamalek host Dynamos at Cairo Stadium Sunday with German coach Reiner Hollmann seeking his first victory since replacing former Dutch star Ruud Krol as coach of the ‘White Knights’ recently.

The other Saturday match also finished goalless as Al-Hilal of Sudan withstood a wave of attacks from Tout Puissant Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo in a Group B clash in the southern city of Lubumbashi. -AFP

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