Zamalek's fast-fading title hopes have been further dented after failing to overcome a plucky Dakhleya side to play out a scoreless draw in the Egyptian Premier League on Thursday.
Playing at Petrosport Stadium, Zamalek were even lucky not to emerge on the losing side, after a legitimate second-half free-kick goal from Dakhleya's Islam Abdel-Naeim was wrongly disallowed by the referee.
Egyptian League holders Zamalek, who came into the game nine points adrift of leaders Ahly, will be hoping their arch-rivals stumble against ENPPI on Friday as the Whites' title hopes have all but faded with 11 games left.
The Whites – who suffered their second successive league defeat after being beaten by Ismaily 1-0 last week - are currently second on 42 points, while Dakhleya are sixth on 37.
Insipid affair, Kahraba waste
A low-tempo first-half did not witness much of action, with the first real chance coming in the 30th minute through striker Mahmoud Kahraba.
Having started with Ahmed Hamoudi as a number 10, in place of the injured Ayman Hefni, Zamalek somewhat struggled to feed lone striker Kahraba – as things only changed when winger Mohamed Ibrahim moved to the center after nearly 30 minutes.
Managing to capitalize on the space behind the Dakhleya midfield, Ibrahim played in Kahraba who managed to hold off his marker before striking from outside the area, only for his effort to narrowly miss the target.
Four minutes later, Ibrahim sent again Kahraba through on goal, but the latter failed to reach the ball in time as the advancing keeper cleared away the danger.
The dynamic Kahraba then could have given his side the lead two minutes from half-time when he got a leg to winger Hazem Emam's cross before missing the target once again.
Kahraba then became at the center of another missed opportunity four minutes after the break when he attempted to slot in a miscued clearance by the keeper from inside the area – where the ball once again went wide.
Manager Alex McLeish then moved to make changes, introducing striker Emmanuel Mayuka instead of Ibrahim.
But it took the substitute long to pose threat on goal, missing a headed chance from a corner kick when he should have done much better in the 67th minute.
The Egyptian League holders were lucky when a free kick from Abel-Naeim that crossed the line after bouncing off the bar wasn't recognized by the ref, as the result remained 0-0.
In the final minutes, Egypt keeper El-Shennawi came to his side's rescu to deny a long-range strike and keep a clean sheet, as Zamalek were frustrated to a goalless draw.
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