CAIRO: Ahly, although still injury-depleted, will be seeking to secure a convincing win over an in-form Police Union side in the Egyptian Premier League on Friday to get over their defeat against Ghazl Mahalla.
The Red Devils suffered their first defeat in the season when they lost 2-0 at Mahalla last Monday in disappointing manner, having struggled to create any clear-cut chances throughout the game.
They could be excused because they missed several key players, including Mohamed Abou-Treika, Gilberto, Sayed Moawad and Ahmed Hassan, due to injuries and suspensions.
However, another stumble will not be acceptable for the Ahly faithful, who saw their team s lead at the top cut to four points.
We have no choice but to claim all three points against Police, Ahly coach Hossam Al-Badri said.
We have to work very hard in the upcoming period to overcome our injury problems.
Ahly will miss several regulars and injury victims including inspirational playmaker Abou-Treika, left wing-backs Moawad and Gilberto and striker Emad Meteb.
Central defender Wael Gomaa will not be available as he serves the first of a two-game suspension after elbowing an opponent against Mahalla.
However, Ahly could still take heart from the return of veteran midfielder and Egypt skipper Ahmed Hassan, who missed the Mahalla game due to automatic suspension.
Sixth-placed Police are capable of emulating the stubbornness of Mahalla, having extended their unbeaten streak to five matches with a 2-1 victory over Harras Hodoud in their previous match.
Ahly failed to beat them in two games last season, losing one and drawing the other.
There is still a long way to go, we need to move up the table, Police coach Talaat Youssef said.
With second-placed Ismaili not in action after their match against ENPPI was postponed due to their African Champions League commitments, Ahly could extend their advantage at the top to seven points if they defeat Police.
Ittihad will be looking to maintain their superb run under Brazilian coach Carlos Cabral when they face Arab Contractors.
The Alexandria-based club, who are seventh in the table, have not been defeated since losing 2-1 to Gouna in September last year.
Egypt forward Mohamed Nagi Gedo , who finished as the Nations Cup top scorer with five goals, will be looking to produce a fine display despite his off-the-field troubles.
He landed himself in hot water after signing a deal to join Zamalek before extending his existing contract with Ittihad.
Struggling side Mansoura have no choice but to beat fellow relegation-threatened side Gouna to keep alive their hopes of remaining among the elites.
They will play under the guidance of assistant coach Al-Husseini Kamal after Adel Teima became the third manager to leave them this season.