CAIRO: Egyptian champions Ahly slumped to a 3-0 defeat to Italian side AS Roma in a pre-season friendly on Wednesday, just three days before the league s kick-off.
Mauro Esposito put Luciano Spalletti s men in front in the first-half through a controversial goal.
Matteo Brighi doubled the lead 12 minutes from time and a David Pizarro penalty shortly after sealed the victory for Roma.
Ahly had to play with 10 men for about 20 minutes following the sending-off of midfielder Moataz Eno for a second bookable offense.
Stefano Okaka could have put Roma ahead after 10 minutes when he nipped in between Wael Gomaa and Rami Adel to control Alberto Aquilani s deft pass.
He went clear on goal but his shot was blocked by Ahly keeper Amir Abdel-Hamid.
Ahly were restricted to tame efforts in the first-half as they rarely threatened Roma keeper Artur Moraes.
Emad Meteb rose at the near post to meet Eno s cross in the 23rd minute but his header went over the crossbar.
Roma dominated possession afterwards and were largely helped by Aquilani s neat passes.
Okaka struck home in the 32nd minute but his goal was ruled out for offside. But the visitors managed to break the deadlock four minutes later through a controversial strike.
Esposito escaped Gomaa to convert Cicinho s right-wing cross from close range.
However, Television replays showed that the ball crossed the byline before Cicinho s cross.
Ahly improved in the second period following the introduction of key trio Mohamed Barakat, Mohamed Abou-Trika and Hussein Yasser.
Star playmaker Abou-Trika made his long awaited return after recovering from a knee injury, while Yasser made his debut after joining Ahly on a free transfer.
Despite Ahly s dominance, they couldn t create clear-cut chances to bother the Giallorossi.
They tried some long-range shots through newly-signed striker Hani Al-Egeizi and defender Mohamed Samir.
But Ahly s hopes of grabbing the equalizer were dealt a blow in the 72nd minute when Eno received his marching orders for two reckless tackles.
Roma had the upper hand afterwards, scoring two more goals to embarrass the Egyptians.
Brighi doubled Roma s advantage in the 78th minute when he towered over his marker to head home Edgar Alvarez s cross.
Ahly keeper Abdel-Hamid should have done better to block the weak header as he could only punch it into his own net.
Roma were controversially awarded a penalty in the 80th minute after Sayed Moawad brought down Alvarez in the area.
Chilean midfielder Pizarro stepped-up to convert the ball even though Abdel-Hamid got a hand to it.