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Zamalek back on top of Egyptian Premier League following win and Al Ahly’s slip up against Ismaily

It looked like Al Ahly were on track to take over the leader spot for good in the Egyptian Premier League due to their excellent form, but the African champions were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw against visitors El Ismaily on Wednesday. The result may cost Ahly dearly as rivals Zamalek won their Tuesday matchup against Alexandria’s Al Ittihad, putting them up two points with both teams only having five matches remaining on the schedule. Veteran full back Mohamed Abdel-Shafi’s late winner for Zamalek could be the moment that is looked upon as the championship winning play if Ahly cannot overturn the deficit.

Abdel-Shafi’s winning goal came after a thrilling second half that followed a scoreless first half between Zamalek and Ittihad. Youssef Obama’s opening goal in the 62nd minute came off a firm header from an Ashraf Bencharki corner kick, but former Zamalek forward Khaled Kamar equalized for the hosts in the 75th minute. Zamalek were outplayed for stretches and a draw looked the most likely result, but Abdel-Shafi followed up a header that was parried into his path by Mohammed Sobhy in the Ittihad goal and made no mistake to win it in the 84th minute.

On Wednesday, Ahly looked like they could be on their way to a home victory, but let their guard down and allowed an energized Ismaily side to get back into the match. In the 22nd minute, Mohamed Sherif made it four games in a row in which the league’s leading scorer put the ball into the net and ten goals in his last ten games with the opening strike for Ahly. However, Tunisia international striker Fakhreddine Ben Youssef continued his own superb form by directing a perfect header into the corner past Mohamed El Shenawy to equalize in the 65th minute. Ahly could not wrestle back firm control of the match and slumped to a disappointing home draw to put their title hopes in serious jeopardy.

Video of Zamalek’s two goals and highlights from Ahly’s match are below.

Al Ittihad 1-2 Zamalek

Al Ahly 1-1 El Ismaily

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