Pitso Mosimane celebrated his first match in charge of Egyptian giants Al Ahly with a 1-0 win over Al Mokawloon in an Egyptian Premier League match played on Sunday night.
The South African tactician made five changes from the side that edged Tanta in their previous league outing, with Mohamed Hany, Ibrahim El Hanafi, Ahmed Fathy, Magdi Kafsha and Aliou Badji all given starting berths.
The hosts were on the front foot in the early stages as veteran Ahmed Fathi nearly opened the scoring but his shot hit the side netting. Four minutes later, Mohamed Magdy also had a great chance but saw his effort saved by goalkeeper Mahmoud Aboul-Saoud.
The Red Devils suffered a major blow in the 27th minute when goalkeeper Mohamed El-Shennawy was forced off the pitch due to an injury with Aly Lotfi replacing the 31-year-old Egyptian international.
Al Ahly’s pressure finally paid off in the 38th minute when they were awarded a penalty following a Video Assistant Referee (VAR) review for a foul by Farouck Kabore on Mahmoud Kahraba inside the box.
After a lengthy wait, Amr Al Soleya stepped up to convert the penalty and score the first goal in the Mosimane era. It was also the 31 year old’s seventh goal of the season. The hosts could have doubled their lead in the second half when Kahraba’s powerful strike from outside the box was saved by Aboul-Saoud.
Al Ahly comfortably closed out the game with a dominat performance that saw them win 64% of the possession, an 85% passing accuracy, fire 19 shots with five on target. It was their 26th win of the season despite having already clinched a record-extending 42nd Egyptian Premier League title.
The win sees Al Ahly move 18 points clear second placed Zamalek who also won 1-0 away at Al Masry last week.
The Red Devils are scheduled to face Morocco’s Wydad Casablanca in the Champions League semi-finals and Abou Qir Fertilizers in the Egyptian Cup quarter-finals later this month.
Their next match is against ENPPI SC in a domestic league match on Wednesday, October 07 and 56 year old Mosimane’s side has three games left in the competition.
Meanwhile, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa commended the appointment of Mosimane as Al Ahly coach.
Ramaphosa said the Kagiso-born tactician will be missed as a force in South African football, and he feels his appointment will strengthen relations between South Africa and Egypt.
“Pitso Mosimane will be missed as a force in South African football but his appointment by our continent’s flagship club strengthens the bonds of friendship between our two countries,” said Ramaphosa on the presidency website.
“It is also a recognition of the talent and capability that resides within our own continent. I wish Pitso and his team well as they fly our flag and the flag of continental football with a club in whose success all Africans take pride,” added Ramaphosa.
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