Ahli Midfielder Ahmed Hassan Downplays Cairo Derby Against Zamalek

The match on Friday will be the Egyptian title decider if Ahli come out victorious.

Ahli midfielder Ahmed Hassan played down the importance of the Cairo derby ahead of their explosive match against arch-rivals Zamalek on Friday.

The Egypt captain plays his fifth derby in two years since he joined Ahli from Anderlecht and refuses to call the game 'a title on its own'.

"It's a normal game, like any other league match," Hassan told Ahli's official website.

"A derby victory is always important for the fans. But in the end, I can't see it as 'a title on its own' as they say."

But a triumph on Friday will give Ahli a sixth straight title because they can stretch their lead on top to 12 points, a gap Zamalek can't bridge in their remaining three games.

Hassan has been involved in a war of words with Zamalek football director Ibrahim Hassan, after the latter called for doping tests in the Egyptian League.

The 35-year-old star criticised these calls in public, claiming that the Zamalek official is hinting at Ahli's veteran players.

Hassan, who was named Africa Cup of Nations' best footballer in February, said Ahli have what it takes to beat their arch-rivals.

"We have the quality and experience. I believe in our team's ability to win all the three points," he said.

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