CAIRO: Ismaili staged a second-half comeback to draw 2-2 at Egyptian Premier League newcomers Mansoura in the opening game of the season on Thursday.
Mansoura went to the locker room with a two-goal lead, thanks to strikes from Ahmed Al-Saei and Wael Mowafi.
Last year s runners-up Ismaili came out with all guns blazing in the second period to restore parity via goals from defender Moatasem Salem and winger Ahmed Samir Farag.
Ismaili, who played with an unfamiliar 4-4-2 formation, piled on pressure in the dying minutes but couldn t give new Serbian coach Nebojsa Vuckovic a winning start.
Egypt keeper Essam Al-Hadari and left-back Ahmed Abou-Mosallam, who both joined Ismaili in the close season, made their debuts.
Tunisian striker Mohamed Selliti also played his first match for the Dervishes after coming on as a second-half substitute.
Iraqi striker Mostafa Karim wasted a golden opportunity to put Ismaili ahead as early as the fourth minute.
He collected a pass inside the area, skipped past his challenger but he couldn t apply the finishing touch, shooting poorly into the side-netting.
Al-Saei was Mansoura s liveliest performer as he unsettled Ismaili s defense with his energetic runs down the left flank.
Youngster Ali Gabr, who partnered with Salem at the center of Ismaili s defense following the departure of Sherif Abdel-Fadil to Ahly, failed to impress and was to blame for the hosts stunning opener.
In the fifth minute, Al-Saei burst into the area and eluded a tackle from Gabr before sending a delightful left-footed shot into the far top corner.
The pacey full-back also had a hand in Mansoura s second goal five minutes before the break.
He made a darting run down the left flank before whipping in an inch-perfect cross to Mowafi, who headed in at the far post.
Ismaili striker Mohamed Mohsen Abou-Greisha was unlucky to his see a fierce close-range drive strike the bar in the first-half s additional time.
The visitors pushed forward in the second half as Mansoura lost their courageous attitude.
However, it wasn t until the 70th minute that Ismaili narrowed the gap after a defensive lapse.
Mansoura defenders failed to clear an Abou-Mosallam left-wing cross and central defender Salem pounced to fire home from inside the area.
Farag grabbed the equalizer three minutes later in superb fashion. He lashed a powerful low shot that left the keeper with no chance.