Ahli Face Zamalek Today In Explosive Cairo Derby

A win for Ahli will see them seal the title besides taking the Cairo bragging rights.

Ahli could not have hoped for a better chance to win the Egyptian Premier League title than today's opportunity to pinch victory against their bitter rivals Zamalek in the Cairo derby.

The Red Devils have every right not to be worried over their prospects of claiming a sixth consecutive league title, with nine points separating them from second-placed arch-rivals Zamalek, who have played a game more.

A league triumph is a formality for an Ahli side who find no difficulty in ensuring their supremacy in Egyptian football but the ultimate satisfaction would be achieving that target at the expense of traditional foes Zamalek.

A victory for Ahli will help them gain an unassailable 12-point lead over Zamalek, who will not be able to bridge that gap even if they win their remaining three games.

"We want to win the title against Zamalek," said veteran midfielder Ahmed Hassan, who has been inspirational for Ahli since joining in the summer of 2008 from Belgian giants Anderlecht.

"Such a win will give the title a special taste, unlike the past few seasons," Hassan told Filgoal.com.

The first Cairo derby of the season ended goalless in December and Friday's game is expected to be balanced too.

It will be the second battle between Ahli coach Hossam Al-Badri and Zamalek's Hossam Hassan, both of whom are eyeing their first derby win in their first season with the Cairo giants.

The White Knights also aim to cap an impressive run under Hassan, who was appointed when they faced the unthinkable prospect of being relegated to the second division, but worked his magic to lift them up to second.

Attacking midfielder Hussein Yasser will come up against Ahli for the first time since leaving them in January after failing to prove his worth.

He shone in several games with Zamalek and is determined to prove that Ahli were mistaken when they decided to let go of him.

"I want to play well in my first derby, this is very important," the Egyptian-born Qatari international said.

"I'm playing against my former team, but I'm not nervous. I'm focusing on giving it my all."

Probable line-ups

Ahli: Ahmed Adel, Ahmed Ali, Wael Gomaa, Sherif Abdul-Fadil, Sayed Moawad, Hossam Ashour, Mostafa Shebeita, Ahmed Hassan, Mohamed Barakat, Mohamed Abou-Treika, Emad Meteb

Zamalek: Abdul-Wahed Al-Sayed, Ahmed Ghanem, Mahmoud Fathallah, Amr Al-Safti, Mohamed Abdul-Shafi, Ibrahim Salah, Hassan Mostafa, Hossam Arafat, Hussein Yasser, Shikabala, Ahmed Gaafar

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