Ahly survived a late comeback from Zamalek to down their arch rivals 3-2 and win the Egyptian Super Cup for the 11th time following an exciting duel at Alexandria’s Borg El-Arab Stadium on Friday.
With the Cairo derby taking place before a limited number of fans for the first time in Egypt since 2013, the Red Devils treated their supporters to an electric first-half display to score two goals without reply, thanks to strikes from Junior Ajayi and winger Hussein El-Shahat.
Nigerian forward Ajayi, back to his dazzling best after he was deployed in a lone striker role, added a third early in the second half as Ahly looked well-equipped to embarrass their Cairo nemesis with a big scoreline.
But an injury to central defender Yasser Ibrahim after the break, with Ahly also losing his defensive partner Mahmoud Metwalli in the first half, allowed Zamalek to push forward and grab a lifeline via two well-taken penalties from Mahmoud Alaa.
But Ahly held on the dying stages to claim the Cairo derby bragging rights for the second time in less than two months, having defeated Zamalek 1-0 on the final day of the league season in July. Both sides also meet next month in the league’s fourth round as the new season gets underway on Saturday.
The fans had barely returned to their seats early in the second half when Ajayi netted again in the 49th minute after Shikabala was robbed on the flank.
Ramadan Sobhi pounced on Shikabala’s mistake to feed Ajayi, who swiveled between two markers to wrong-foot Awad with a low shot.
The introduction of Zamalek striker Mostafa Mohamed spurred their attack as he made an instant impact. He won a penalty on 63 minutes after latching onto a through pass before being tripped by keeper Mohamed El-Shennawi.