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Monday, 01 March 2021

Preview: Egypt's most famous stadium brought back to life

Cairo Stadium will host an official football game for the first time since early 2012 when Zamalek host Ismaily in Thursday's Egyptian Premier League tie

Hatem Maher, Wednesday 1 Jan 2014
Cairo Stadium
Cairo International Stadium (Photo: Ahram)
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Views: 1453

Egypt's most famous stadium, known for its rip-roaring atmosphere, will host a football game for the first time since February 2012 when Group B rivals Zamalek and Ismaily meet in the Egyptian Premier League on Thursday.

The Cairo Stadium, which was initially named after late President Gamal Abdel-Nasser when it was inaugurated in 1960, has been closed since the 2012 Port Said disaster, which prompted authorities to stage most of the subsequent matches at military-owned venues due to security concerns.

Zamalek and Ismaily were the last teams to play at the 74,100-seat stadium. However, their match was called off few minutes after kick-off upon the request of both sides, who deemed it impossible to carry on when more than 70 Ahly fans were killed in coastal city Port Said less than an hour earlier.

Both sides opened their new league campaign in convincing fashion.

Zamalek beat Masry 2-0 in Suez in their opening game while Ismaily, who played a match more, edged past promoted Qanah 2-1 and defeated Beni Suef Telephones 3-1.

Ismaily, who haven't won any trophy since their 2002 Egyptian Premier League triumph, are taking heart from some impressive displays from Ghanaian 20-year-old striker John Antwi.

The talented marksman notched four goals in two matches to prove a perfect replacement for burly frontman Ahmed Ali, who is now at Zamalek and could face his former club in Thursday's clash.

"Zamalek coach Helmi Toulan has given special instructions to his defenders on how to stop the threat of Antwi," Ismaily, who will miss regular goalkeeper Mohamed Sobhi due to injury, said on their official website.

Haras El-Hodoud will be looking to atone for a poor start that saw them lose their opening two matches when they meet Qanah while Masry, who could only collect one point from two games, will be seeking to register their first win at the expense of Wadi Degla.

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