Of the various classes that may be taken from fallen two-time-winner Al Ittihad’s cherished AFC Champions League-return after a number of chaotic years spent battling home relegation, the affect of Ahmed Hegazi is paramount.
Consideration within the Center East is so usually centred on attacking recruits – whether or not analysing those in situ, or casting envious eyes in the direction of the subsequent alluring goal. However the affect of the Egypt centre-back all through 2020/21 is an instance to all in regards to the often-neglected artwork of defending.
Valuable few strikers can encourage a +14 swing in aim distinction from a woeful 2019/20, with one sport remaining. The West Bromwich Albion loanee’s towering presence has, with the assistance of his newly assured team-mates, impressed this rise from the doldrums to 3rd spot within the Saudi Skilled League.
An injection of management, physicality and reliability has totally reworked the Tigers. It has additionally supplied coveted Brazilian coach Fabio Carille with the anchor level which was so obviously absent in a troubled debut marketing campaign in cost.
One statistic, specifically, from Wyscout stands out. Hegazy leads the way in which within the division for aerial duels gained in his personal penalty field, with 50.
Ziyad Al Sahafi was Ittihad’s greatest with 27 final time period.
A fundamental supply of disruption for opposition has been shut off.
Carille’s troops, moreover, have saved seven clear sheets in 2020/21. It took them 15 rounds in 2019/20 to document the primary of simply three shutouts.
Ittihad have solely managed so as to add two targets to final time period’s tally of 41, with a fixture in arrears. Brazilian ahead Romarinho with 15 strikes stays, by a distance, their deadliest attacking outlet.
The quantum leap in output from final season’s nervy 11th place and this one’s comfy third – probably second – reveals how the answer to a crew’s ails can solely be discovered up high.
Itti’s bold and creative pursuit of elite defensive expertise in Hegazy has paid off in type. Their Asian comeback in 2022 after six years away – for varied causes – is a lesson to all forward of the summer season switch market.
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