Forgotten striker Emad Meteb reminded Ahly of his class when he came off the bench to score his first league goal of the season and lead his team to a precious 2-0 win over Arab Contractors in the Egyptian Premier League on Monday.
Two second-half goals from Meteb and fellow substitute Momen Zakraia allowed unbeaten Ahly to extend their lead at the top as they look frontrunners to win a tenth league title in 11 seasons.
Ahly lead the table with 49 points, eight ahead of second placed Maqassa, who suffered a 4-3 defeat by Smouha in an exciting clash earlier in the day but still have a game in hand, and 15 above third-placed Zamalek who played three matches less.
The out-of-favour Meteb, who turns 34 on Monday, made just two league appearances as a substitute this season.
With Ahly’s other frontmen largely disappointing, Meteb broke the deadlock against Contractors after a trademark header with 15 minutes remaining, staking his claim for a regular place after reports suggested he might leave the club at the end of the season.
The last time he scored in any competition was on 22 December when he netted a hat-trick as Ahly romped to a thumping 6-0 victory over lower-tier Aluminum in the Egypt Cup round of 32.
Eying a quick recovery from Wednesday’s 0-0 draw with foes Ismaily, their fourth draw so far this season, Ahly dominated the game against Arab Contractors but struggled to create goal-scoring chances.
After just 10 minutes, Ahly’s left wing-back Ali Maaloul missed a sitter when he was sent clear on goal but his shot from a tight angle missed the target.
At the other end, Ahly keeper Sherif Ekramy tipped over a shot from Contractors Ahmed Ali but otherwise, chances were few and far between.
Ahly’s defence and midfield pushed forward to support the attack, with right-back Ahmed Fathi, left-back Maaloul and central defender Saad Samir all contributing to build-up play.
The introduction of Meteb and Zakaria in the second half injected zeal and Ahly finally ended the resistance of Contractors in the 75th minute.
Former Egyptian international Meteb, a key part of an Ahly golden generation that won a host of domestic and international titles from 2004 to 2013, glanced a superb header past the keeper following an inch-perfect cross from Nigerian forward Junior Ajayi.
Zakaria ensured the win five minutes later, breaking clear to round the keeper and slot into an empty net.
Source: Ahram online