Al Ahly dealt an early season blow to defending Egyptian Premier League champions Zamalek by defeating their rivals 5-3 on Friday. Ali Maâloul scored twice from the penalty spot with Aliou Dieng and Mohamed Sherif also contributing to the score column for the African champions on their way to an impressive early season victory. Zamalek attempted to respond with a late comeback but the deficit was too large by that point.
It was a dream start for Al Ahly, who came out with focus and determination before a stroke of luck led to the opening goal in the 16th minute. Center midfielder Aliou Dieng collected a pass and with room to operate, unleashed a shot from 21 yards out that took a dramatic deflection off a sliding Zamalek defender. The ball looped over Zamalek keeper Mohamed Abougabal, who watched the ball bounce off the crossbar, back off him and into the goal before he could react in time for an own goal.
Only a couple of minutes later, Maâloul dribbled down the left wing and cut back before being taken down by Hamza Mathlouthi, leading to a penalty kick. Maâloul sent Abougabal the other way for Ahly’s second goal. A disastrous opening 25 minutes for Zamalek was confirmed with the concession of a third goal that was scored in style by Ahly. A loose ball at the corner of the Zamalek penalty area saw Amr El Soulia strike a brilliant rabona cross to find Sherif, who finished past Abougabal to make it 3-0.
Zamalek were able to recover a bit after keeping the deficit at three goals until the halftime break. In the 51st minute, Achraf Bencharki found halftime substitute Mostafa Fathi, who delivered a brilliant finish into the corner from outside the penalty area. However, Ahly swiftly responded a minute later to restore their three-goal lead when a corner kick from Afsha found Dieng outside the box, where the Malian midfielder curled a beauty of a shot past Abougabal. Another Maâloul penalty kick in the 65th minute made it 5-1 and the lead was too much for Zamalek to overcome.
The defending champions found two goals in the last ten minutes through Zizo and Bencharki to make the score look less humiliating, but the day was all Al Ahly’s and now the African champions are tied at the top of the table with Pyramids FC. Highlights of the match are below.