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Ahly move top of Egyptian league with 2-1 win over Degla
Published in Ahram Online on 04 - 08 - 2021

Ahly moved top of the Egyptian Premier League after securing a narrow 2-1 victory over a resilient Wadi Degla side on Wednesday despite failing to keep a clean sheet for the fifth consecutive game.
A dour first half ended goalless but Ahly came on with all guns blazing in the second, with winger Mahmoud Kahraba quickly opening the scoring and Mohamed Sherif doubling their lead on the hour mark.
Sherif took his tally to 17 goals on top of the league's scoring chart, two ahead of Ceramica Cleopatra striker Ahmed Rayan.
Degla substitute Ahmed Sherif narrowed the gap in the 67th minute but they could not find an equaliser, with Ahly also having a stoppage-time goal chalked off after a VAR review for a foul in the build-up.
Ahly, who have completed their rescheduled games, moved level on 61 points with perennial Cairo rivals Zamalek. However, the Red Devils have the head-to-head advantage with seven matches remaining.
Degla will face a battle to remain in the top flight as they lie second from bottom on 23 points, four adrift of safety.
Ahly looked rusty in the first half, with Wadi Degla moving the ball around comfortably and trying some speculative shots.
Degla made two unscripted substitutions after Mahmoud Marei and Mohamed Helal were injured but they were only troubled in the latter stages of the half.
Lone striker Sherif blasted high over from a good scoring position after a cut-back from the right found him unmarked and playmaker Magdi Afsha fired across the six-yard box after beating the offside trap and breaking clear.
Kahraba put Ahly in front just after the restart, sending a low shot into an empty net from just inside the area after Sherif was thwarted by 44-year-old keeper Mohamed Abdel-Monsef following a delightful diagonal pass from winger Hussein El-Shahat.
Abdel-Monsef blocked a shot from Afsha and a goal-bound header from Sherif as Ahly laid siege to Degla's area.
Their pressure paid dividends on 60 minutes when Afsha superbly exchanged passes with El-Shahat on the left hand side of the area before sending an inviting low cross to the far post, where the lurking Sherif made no mistake form close range.
Degla ensured Ahly would still endure some nervy spells as Sherif pulled one back, finishing off a counter attack with a low shot that beat advancing keeper Ali Lotfi after the two central defenders failed to close him down.
It was the fifth straight game for Ahly to concede, an alarming record in the final stretch of the season.
However, Ahly held on to continue their bid towards a sixth successive league title.
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