CAIRO: Ahly coach Hossam Al-Badri said he had no choice but to introduce playmaker Mohamed Abou-Trika late in his side s game against Masri because of the visitors defensive tactics .
The Red Devils left it late to beat 10-man Masri 2-0 with two goals from Emad Meteb and substitute Shehab Ahmed in the Egyptian Premier League on Wednesday.
Abou-Trika, who made his long-awaited return from injury when he came off the bench in Ahly s 2-2 draw with Gaish last month, was not included in the starting line-up against Masri.
The home fans kept chanting his name until he stepped onto the pitch with ten minutes remaining, replacing right-back Ahmed Ali.
Abou-Trika has just returned from a serious foot injury, so we should choose the suitable time for him to play, Al-Badri said after the game.
Masri were adopting a defensive-minded strategy, it would have been difficult for Abou-Trika to make an impact (while he is still short of match fitness).
I preferred to introduce Abou-Trika when we took full control of the game.
Ahly, who are chasing a sixth consecutive league title, are on top of the table with an eight-point lead over nearest challengers Petrojet.
Petrojet can narrow the gap to five points if they beat Military Production on Thursday.
We can not afford to lose any points from now on, Al-Badri, who took over at Ahly in the summer following the resignation of Portuguese Manuel Jose, added.