Pitso Mosimane suffers his first defeat in Egypt as coach of Al Ahly

22 April 2021 - 13:21
By Marc Strydom
Al Ahly coach Pitso Mosimane reacts during the match at the Education City Stadium.
Image: REUTERS/Mohammed Dabbous Al Ahly coach Pitso Mosimane reacts during the match at the Education City Stadium.

Pitso Mosimane suffered his first defeat in Egypt as coach of Al Ahly as a result of freakish strike in the dying seconds that handed Smouha a 2-1 Egyptian Premier League victory at Cairo International Stadium on Wednesday night.

It was just Mosimane’s third defeat overall in 35 matches‚ and first inside Egypt and in the league. The previous two losses came against Bayern Munich (2-0) in the Fifa Club World Cup semifinal in Qatar‚ and against Simba SC (1-0) in Tanzania in the 2020-21 Caf Champions League group stage.

Fifth-placed Smouha’s first win against Ahly since 2015 was assisted by a freakish winning goal. Forward Hossam Hassan took a kick up-field from the keeper‚ turned and beat two Ahly players on the halfway line‚ and with goalkeeper Mohamed El Shenawy yards out of position outside his box on the left‚ punted into an exposed goal from 45-metres. The winner came three minutes and 50 seconds into four minutes of added time.

Ahly fans are apparently not panicking over the single defeat.

Egyptian journalist Omar Elbanouby told TimesLIVE that Ahly’s supporters and management‚ unlike notoriously trigger-happy rivals Zamalek‚ resist putting too much pressure on a coach during the course of a season.

Elbanouby‚ a football writer for Akhbar Elyom newspaper and consultant for the cable Al Ahly TV channel‚ did add‚ though‚ that there were question marks over Mosimane’s decision to field El Shenawy‚ who had not trained during the week.

“The fans still support Mosimane because especially at Al Ahly they never put the coach under pressure during the season‚” Elbanouby said.

“We want them to stay until the end of the season. At the end of the season Al Ahly fans will voice their opinion on whether Mosimane should continue or not‚ and also the board members and president Mahmoud El Khatib will make a decision.

“That may happen at Zamalek‚ to put the coach under pressure‚ but not at Al Ahly.”

Mosimane was reluctant to use Ahly’s eight injury concerns as an excuse‚ but did admit his team looked fatigued in their fifth match in 18 days. Ahly also missed a number of sitters in front of goal.

“Amid all the current circumstances‚ we accept [the] defeat. We are suffering a lot due to our overwhelmed schedule‚ but we must deal with it‚” the former Mamelodi Sundowns coach said.

“I will not speak about the injuries. They are not an excuse as we managed to defeat Zamalek while having several players out of action.”

Ahly beat Zamalek 2-1 at Cairo International Stadium on Sunday. The Red Devils (30 points from 13 matches) are in second place in the league to Zamalek (33 from 15).

Mosimane wrapped up the 2019-20 Egyptian Cup from the quarterfinal stage and Champions League from the semifinals arriving at Ahly in early September last year. His record at the Cairo giants reads: played 35‚ won 26‚ drawn six‚ lost three.