Pyramids FC came into Tuesday’s anticipated Egyptian Premier League clash against Al Ahly in excellent form and ready to establish themselves as a threat to win the league, but their hopes took a major setback with a 3-0 defeat at the Al Salam Stadium. High pressing from the hosts caused all sorts of issues for a Pyramids side that struggled when distributing out of the back, with costly mistakes leading to all three Ahly goals scored by Mohamed Magdy “Afsha”, Amr El Solia and Mohamed Sherif to give the African champions a two point lead at the top.
The first half was even and Pyramids looked quite capable of getting a positive result even though there were few opportunities for either side in the opening 45 minutes. Ahly had the best opportunity when right back Mohamed Hany got forward and picked out Afsha with a cross, but the playmaker sent his volley wide of Pyramids goalkeeper Sherif Ekramy’s goal.
Following the halftime break, Pyramids completely fell apart just over a minute into the second 45 and only had themselves to blame for losing their composure at the worst time. Aimless passing in the back saw Pyramids playmaker and captain Abdallah Said come back to try and initiate play, but high pressure from Ahly forced the veteran into a nightmare of an attempt to switch fields and his pass went right to Afsha. The Ahly playmaker maneuvered around a defender and danced around Ekramy, who got a piece of Afsha’s shot but saw the ball bounce in for the opener.
Pyramids nearly equalized ten minutes later when Ramadan Sobhi cut past an Ahly defender outside the penalty area and the ball fell to Said, whose shot bounced off the post and across the mouth of the Ahly goal before Omar Gaber’s rebound attempt went off the post and wide from a sharp angle. In the 75th minute South African striker Fagrie Lakay had two excellent looks on goal after a poor clearance from Ahly left back Ali Maâloul, but Ahly keeper Mohamed El Shenawy did well to close down the angle and save from 8 yards out before Lakay shot over on a follow up opportunity.
Ahly continued to emphasize pressing the Pyramids defense when the visitors were in possession and their opponents completely lost their nerve and the match in the final 10 minutes. In the 86th minute, a cross from Maâloul was headed high into the air to outside the Pyramids penalty area and Ibrahim Adel’s poor first touch sent the ball right into the path of El Solia, who unleashed a curling shot from 20 yards out that left Ekramy with no chance.
The Pyramids nightmare was completed in stoppage time when another Maâloul cross saw Ekramy and center back Ahmed Samy miss their attempts to play the ball and Sherif finished off the subsequent scramble for Ahly’s third.
Highlights of the match are below. Ahly now have a two point lead and a game still to make up on Pyramids, who will rue a missed opportunity to prove their worth.
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