Mosimane on course for a sixth trophy since joining Ahly from Sundowns, as his side closes 14-point gap

05 August 2021 - 11:23 By Marc Strydom
Al Ahly head coach Pitso Mosimane.
Al Ahly head coach Pitso Mosimane.
Image: Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images

After trailing Zamalek for almost all of the 2020-21 Egyptian Premier League season‚ Pitso Mosimane’s Al Ahly have closed a 14-point gap in two months‚ taking the lead on goal difference with Wednesday night’s tough away win against Wadi Degla.

This puts Mosimane on course for a sixth trophy since he joined Ahly from Mamelodi Sundowns less than a year ago.

Ahly‚ playing catch-up in matches due to their participation in the Fifa Club World Cup and defending their Caf Champions League title‚ have stunningly closed a 10-point gap in under three weeks. When Ahly beat Kaizer Chiefs 3-0 in the Champions League final in Morocco on July 17 that was how much they trailed by‚ with four matches in hand.

After rallying from 0-0 at the break to a 2-0 lead‚ running out 2-1 winners against Wadi‚ Ahly are level on 61 points from the same amount of matches as Zamalek (27)‚ topping the table on goal difference (+34 to +30).

Amazingly‚ at a stage in June Ahly had played 19 games and had 41 points‚ while bitter Cairo rivals Zamalek had played 25 and had 55‚ and a 14-point lead. Ahly have picked up 20 points out of a possible 24 in their eight games since‚ and Zamalek a maximum six from their two.

Mosimane said it was not a tactical change‚ but just a plea to his players to finish their chances‚ that resulted in goals from Mahmoud Kahraba and Mohamed Sherif after the break at Al Salam Stadium on Wednesday night.

“I told the players at half time‚ ‘Please‚ score goals we want to translate our control’‚” Mosimane told Kingfut.com.

“We topped the league table‚ which is the most important thing. Al Ahly must win all the titles‚ that is the spirit of the club.”

Ahly and Zamalek now have seven matches apiece to settle the championship.

Ahly have won seven and drawn three in 10 league matches since their 1-0 defeat away to Ghazl El Mehalla in May. The run has come amid a compressed schedule in a domestic season already affected by Covid-19‚ where they fell behind in matches due to their participation at the Club World Cup in Qatar in February.

Zamalek also played fewer games in the Caf Champions League‚ where they exited in the group stage.

The Club World Cup‚ where Ahly won bronze‚ was the only competition entered under Mosimane so far that the Cairo giants have not won.

Arriving in late September 2020 Mosimane wrapped up a 2019-20 Egyptian league title already clinched under predecessor Rene Weiler unbeaten‚ then oversaw a first Champions League win in seven years from the semifinals‚ and the Egyptian Cup from the quarterfinals. Ahly won the Caf Super Cup in May‚ and defended their Champions League crown last month.

Mosimane became only the fourth coach to win back-to-back Champions League titles. By adding to his victory with Sundowns in 2016 Mosimane now stands alone‚ on three titles‚ as second only to ex-Ahly coach Manuel Jose’s four.

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