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Egyptian Premier League: Al Ahly fall to determined Pyramids FC, Zamalek win fourth straight

The busy part of the Egyptian domestic season continued over the weekend and Saturday provided another crucial matchup in the Egyptian Premier League title race with third placed Al Ahly visiting second placed Pyramids FC while league leaders Zamalek traveled to El Mahalla. Pyramids delivered a convincing performance in their 2-0 victory over Ahly as Fakhreddine Ben Youssef and Eric Traoré scored to help their side avenge a 3-0 league defeat earlier in the season as well as a 2-1 Egypt Cup loss in late June. Meanwhile, Zamalek found their stride in the second half for a 2-0 victory to keep up the pace at the top of the table.

Costly turnovers in the back cost Pyramids dearly in their 3-0 defeat to Ahly earlier in the season but there were no signs of those issues on Saturday. Takis Gonias’ side did not dominate possession as they usually do against lesser sides but Pyramids maximized their efficiency on the ball to reverse the trend from the last meeting against Ahly and punish mistakes the Red Devils made. After striking the crossbar on a volley in the 6th minute it was Tunisian forward Ben Youssef who delivered an important finish soon before the half hour mark after Walid El Karti cleverly headed the ball into his path for a blast past Ahly keeper Mohamed El Shenawy.

Another factor that contributed to a Pyramids victory was solid play from the goalkeeper position as Ahmed El Shenawy made a couple of important saves that were lacking earlier in the season with veteran Sherif Ekramy in goal. Soon after El Shenawy denied Ahly striker Hossam Hassan in the 65th minute, Pyramids struck for a second. Ramadan Sobhi’s hopeful cross attempted to find substitute Traoré and Ahly left back Ali Maâloul attempted to chest the ball back to his keeper El Shenawy but left it short and Traoré pounced to finish for the important second goal. With the victory Pyramids are now five points ahead of Ahly having played two more matches.

Zamalek struggled to get going on the road at Ghazl El Mahalla but the hosts could not take advantage of their opportunities and both goalkeepers stayed sharp in the first half. The introduction of halftime substitutes Abdallah Gomaa and Shikabala from Zamalek manager Jesualdo Ferreira inspired his side to step up their performance and the visitors found the lead in the 69th minute when a corner kick from Ahmed Sayed “Zizo” picked out Achraf Bencharki for a headed goal. Bencharki struck his second and 8th league goal of the campaign late on after Shikabala’s shot was saved into his path for an easy finish.

Highlights from both games are below followed by highlights from an important win for relegation candidates El Ismaily, who produced an inspired second half comeback to defeat Future FC 2-1.

Pyramids FC 2-0 Al Ahly

Ghazl El Mahalla 0-2 Zamalek

Future FC 1-2 El Ismaily

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