CAIRO: Ahly proved they can perfectly employ the 4-4-2 formation after defeating Ghazl Mahalla in the Egyptian Premier League opener, assistant coach Mohamed Youssef said.
The league holders kicked off the defense of their title by claiming an easy 2-0 home win over Mahalla on Thursday.
They have done so under a 4-4-2 system that was questioned by pundits and fans alike following Ahly s poor results in pre-season friendlies.
The Red Devils used to play with a traditional 3-5-2 formation in a trophy-laden spell under former manager Manuel Jose.
We will continue to play with a 4-4-2 formation. We ve successfully implemented it today, Youssef told reporters following Ahly s victory over Mahalla.
The players are getting used to this new strategy so we should not change it.
Veteran midfielder Ahmed Hassan gave Ahly the lead six minutes before the break with a blistering shot.
Newly-signed Liberian striker Francis Doe wrapped up the win midway through the second half.
Doe showed that he is a very good player. I also want to thank keeper Ahmed Abdel-Meneim for producing a solid display today.
Ahly s usual third-choice guardian Abdel-Meneim, who was handed a rare starting berth, denied Mahalla two certain goals in the second half.
He could overtake Amir Abdel-Hamid as the team s preferred choice between the sticks after the latter committed numerous errors during the pre-season friendlies.