CAIRO: Ahly ensured their Egyptian Premier League leadership with a deserved 2-1 win at Mansoura on Monday, thanks to Mohamed Abou-Trika s brace either side of the break.
Abou-Trika hit the opener after 31 minutes, while Ibrahim Marzouk equalized for Mansoura seconds before half-time.
But Egypt playmaker Abou-Trika fired Ahly to the lead once again three minutes past the hour mark.
Egypt U-20 star Mohamed Talaat was named in the Red Devils starting line-up, but barely came up with the goods till he made way for Mohamed Fadl, who has recently recovered from a major thigh problem.
The match also marked Emad Meteb s return in league action after recovering from a serious knee injury that kept him on the sidelines for several months. He replaced Ahmed Hassan in the second half.
League leaders Ahly are now on 17 points, while 12th-placed Mansoura have only six.
Marzouk tried to put Mansoura ahead early in the game, but his powerful free-kick was blocked by Ahmed Adel.
After 15 minutes, Ahly managed to take control of the game, while the hosts concentrated their efforts on bolstering their defense.
Mohamed Barakat was close to opening the scoring when he latched onto a Sayed Moawad deft pass to go one-on-one with the keeper, but his poor finish was easily saved.
With Ahly maintaining an early onslaught, the home side were dangerous on the counter attack.
Mansoura s Ali Eid could have ended a counter attack with a goal, but his drive went high over.
Abou-Trika broke the deadlock when he tamed Moataz Eno s poor shot inside the area to slot home from close range, while Mansoura s defenders stood still, waiting for the referee to signal for offside.
Marzouk brought the score level when he headed a right-wing free-kick into the net from eight yards away, after rising above his marker Barakat.
After the interval, Ahly kept trying to regain their one-goal cushion through consistent attacks, but couldn t genuinely threat their opposition during the early minutes of the second period.
Second-half substitute Fadl skillfully set up talisman Abou-Trika, who netted his second goal with a clinical finish inside the area.
Abou-Trika could have competed a hat-trick upon converting a free-kick, but his effort hit the post.
Ahly kept the upper hand, looking to ensure their superiority with more goals.
Substitute Meteb came close to scoring when he competently controlled a long pass inside the area, but failed to hit home from an acute angle.
In return, Mansoura couldn t carve out any threatening scoring opportunities.
Fadl could have added a third goal for Ahly few minutes before injury time when he headed an Abou-Trika precise cross, but he missed by inches.