Ahly and Masry draw first game since Port Said tragedy

Rival Egyptian teams Al Ahly and Al Masry face each other
Rival Egyptian teams Al Ahly and Al Masry face each other

Rival Egyptian teams Al Ahly and Al Masry played out a 1-1 draw on Saturday in the first match between the two sides since the tragic 2012 riots which claimed the lives of more than 70 fans.

The match was played behind closed doors and at a neutral venue in the city of Gouna, far away from Port Said where the riots erupted after the match on February 1, 2012.

Saturday's match in Gouna passed off peacefully with no reports of violence inside or outside the stadium.

It was an even contest on the pitch with neither side able to break the deadlock in the first half.

Just after the break, Ahly went close through an effort from Mahmoud 'Trezeguet' Hassan whose shot went wide.

But it was Al Masry who went in front, courtesy of a 57th minute strike from Mahmoud Abdel-Hakim.

Ahly then went on the attack looking for their equaliser. Mahmoud 'Trezeguet' Hassan had a shot cleared off the line and Emad Meteb's strike hit the post.

Ahly finally found the back of the net through substitute Ramadan Sobhi 10 minutes from time, his close range effort ensuring the match would end in a draw.

The result puts defending champions Al Ahly fourth in the table, 12 points behind leaders Zamalek although Ahly have three games in hand on their arch-rivals. Masry are down in 13th place.

Since 2012, Egypt's premier league championship had been split into two groups to ensure Ahly and Masry never played against each other, except potentially in a final, although that did not happen.

However, for the 2015 season the league has reverted to a single group which is why the two teams have had to face each other once again.

Since the 2012 riots, football fans have been largely banned from attending league matches, but limited numbers of spectators were allowed during international games whether played by clubs or the national team.