Pitso Mosimane’s Al Ahly failed to move within a point of Egyptian Premier League leaders Zamalek after playing to a 1-1 draw against El Gouna on Friday evening.
Aliou Dieng and Nasser Maher featured from the start in the home side’s starting line-up following their midweek win over Al-Masry SC.
With the gap to the league leaders Zamalek on four points prior to the match, the Cairo Red Devils of Mosimane while continuing to play catch up needed to hit the ground running in earnest.
Early promise of play from the league holders culminated in a few shots at the opposing number one but Mohamed Sherif and Mahmoud Kahraba in particular lacked decisiveness.
Mosimane’s men still enjoyed the lion share of play towards the remaining stages of the first half however the breakthrough continued to prove elusive.
Gouna, who entered the contest in ninth spot on the table, made a change on 34 minutes in Amr El Saadawy for Jonathan Ngwem.
On the other side, the same scenario albeit through injury occurred after five minutes when Saad Samir made an exit for fellow defender Yasser Ibrahim.
More introductions from either end followed at the restart with Taher Mohamed and Mohamed Magdy Afsha in for Ahly and Gouna threw in Karim El Tayeb.
However, Ahly’s reinforcements proved vital as on 56 minutes Mohamed bagged the opener from a ball by Akram Tawfik needing Gouna to chase the game.
Ahly as anticipated pushed for more goals in the closing stages to the encounter with a few small openings around the final third but Gouna stayed tight.
The host were made to pay for their inaccuracy with five minutes to go as Mohamed Naguib headed home the equaliser to deny Ahly three points and three successive league wins overall.
Al Ahly are one of the eight teams in the CAF Champions League quarter-finals: