Ahly held to bore draw by Mahalla

Omar AbdelAziz
2 Min Read

CAIRO: Ahly couldn t break the strong defense lines of Ghazl Mahalla in a goalless Egyptian Premier League game on Monday.

The title holders now have 52 points on top of the table, while Mahalla remain 12th with 29 points.

Ahly are only one point ahead of second-placed Ismaili, who thrashed Arab Contractors in Ismailiya.

The Red Devils, who missed influential duo Mohamed Barakat and Ahmed Hassan, seemed to be lacking venom against a resilient Mahalla.

Manuel Jose started with Osama Hosni alongside Flavio Amado upfront, keeping Mohamed Abou-Trika on the bench.

A cagey start from both sides prompted little action inside the opening half-hour, which suggested that the defending champions won t have an easy ride.

Mahalla keeper Ibrahim Farag blocked a Flavio tight-angled header in the 31st minute.

Two minutes later, the home side responded when Nader Al-Ashri s effort went agonizingly wide of the left post, in what was the best chance of the first half.

Nine minutes from the break, Jose introduced Qatari forward Hussein Yasser at the expense of full-back Ahmed Sedik.

Abou-Trika replaced Hosni at half-time, as the latter had hardly touched the ball in the first half.

The second half witnessed no improvement in terms of chances at both ends, as league strugglers Mahalla seemed to be desperate for the point.

Ahmed Fathi tested Farag from 35 yards and the Mahalla goalkeeper couldn t handle the bouncing ball, but there was no response from Ahly s strikers on the rebound.

Jose brought on Ahmed Belal for Sayed Moawad to shore up the frontline, but the Portuguese s attempts went in vain.

Moetaz Eno was close to snatching a dramatic winner in injury time when he fired a long-range shot that went inches wide.

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