CAIRO: Ismaili settled for a goalless draw away to Kenya s Sofapaka in the first leg of the African Champions League preliminary round on Saturday.
The Dervishes had to thank keeper Mohamed Sobhi for keeping a clean sheet after he denied Sofapaka two goal-scoring opportunities.
Sobhi deputized for regular guardian Essam Al-Hadari, who was left out of the team s squad after skipping training for several days.
Ismaili could have snatched a precious winner late in the game but playmaker Abdullah Saied wasted a clear-cut chance after breaking clear of defense.
The coastal club s new signing Abdoulaye Coulibaly, an Ivorian striker, made his debut and put in a fine display.
Ismaili, who play in the Champions League for the first time since 2003, will be favorites to reach the next round when they host Sofapaka in two weeks time.
They are bidding to win their second Champions League title in history, having been the first Egyptian team to lift the trophy in 1969.