Cup masters Hodoud spoil Ahli's season after shootout

الإثنين، 07 يونيو 2010 - 23:39

كتب : Omar AbdelAziz

Harras Hodoud retained the Egyptian Cup title after beating Ahli 5-4 on penalties, following a thrilling 1-1 draw at Cairo Stadium on Monday.

Youngster Ahmed Safi gave the Alexandrians a first-half lead, but Mohamed Barakat equalized for Ahli eight minutes from the end to force extra time and penalties.

The five Hodoud players made no mistake from the spot as Ahli's unlucky number 7 Mohamed Fadl was the only player to miss.

Hodoud manager Tarek Al-Ashri made three changes to the side that beat Ismaili in the semis, welcoming back captain Mohamed Halim.

At the other end, Ahli played with the same eleven who started against Military Production last week.

Hectic start and stunning finish

Action started as early as the fourth minute when Ahmed Mekki found himself one-on-one with Sherif Ekrami, who thwarted the Hodoud forward to make up for his defense's awful offside trap.

Fadl, who scored twice against Production in the semis, replied after ten minutes with a superb volley against the crossbar.

Five minutes later, Ekrami's dismal clearance went straight to striker Ahmed Abdul-Ghani, but the heroic Wael Gomaa saved the day with an extraordinary clearance off the line.

Abdul-Ghani missed a sitter in the 26th minute, blasting wide from 12 yards when it was easier for him to score.

The game's tempo was always on the up but both team's defense raised the level of alert after the hectic start, with Hodoud looking closer to score.

Al-Ashri's side got their goal in the dying moments of the first half, capitalizing on a poor piece of defense from the league champions.

Hossam Ashour was easily tricked by a fine dummy from Mekki, who sent in a pinpoint cross for the completely-free Safi to head in past Ekrami.

Barakat leveler

Hodoud were once again the brighter side as strike partners Mekki and Abdul-Ghani caused all sorts of problems to the sluggish Ahli defense.

Mekki missed two quickfire chances, one of which was denied by a brilliant save from the in-form Ekrami.

Ahli coach Hossam Al-Badri introduced Ahmed Shokri and Ahmed Hassan, whose first contribution was a precise cross to the quiet Mohamed Abou-Treika, who volleyed wide.

The turnaround began gradually as Hodoud recoiled back hoping their tight defense would frustrate the Red Devils, but the ever-green Barakat made sure of a thrilling end.

Receiving a terrific through ball from Hassan, Barakat instinctively lobbed goalkeeper Ali Farag to put Ahli on level terms in the 82nd minute.

With the momentum on their side, Ahli piled on the pressure and Abou-Treika almost scored the dramatic winner four minutes from time, but his effort was blocked by Farag.

Four minutes into stoppage time, Treika missed a much easier chance this time, once again foiled by an excellent stop from Farag.

Extra time

Conservativeness ruled in extra time as both teams remained alert on the defensive, despite Ahli's slight dominance in midfield.

In the 113th minute, Abou-Treika was denied by Farag for the third time, missing from point-blank range against the body of the Hodoud guardian.

Barakat could have scored the goal of the season but his volley went wide as the game looked destined to penalties.

Abdul-Ghani, Mekki, Ahmed Eid, Islam Ramadan and Abdul-Rahman Farouk scored for Hodoud, with the latter hitting the winning penalty.

Abou-Treika, Barakat, Gomaa and Hassan scored for Ahli, but Fadl saw his powerful penalty hit the post.

Hodoud, who won the Super Cup at the expense of Ahli, finished the season like they started it to deny the Reds their 14th double.

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