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Saturday, 30 May 2020

Zamalek no-show as Egyptian league clash against Maqassa abandoned

Hatem Maher , Sunday 16 Apr 2017
Zamalek
Maqassa defeated Zamalek 1-0 in their previous Egyptian Premier League game last month (Ahram)
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An Egyptian Premier League clash between Zamalek and Maqassa was abandoned on Sunday after the Cairo giants made a rare move of fulfilling a promise to withdraw from the match.

Zamalek's outspoken chairman Mortada Mansour was ridiculed by rival fans on social media more than once this season after making repeated empty promises to pull the club out of the premier domestic competition.

However, he made good on his promise this time around, with Zamalek failing to show up at Cairo's Petrosport Stadium for the scheduled 07:00 PM kick-off. Maqassa were present at the venue.

The referee waited for 20 minutes on the pitch before abandoning the match.

According to the EFA regulations, Maqassa are expected to be awarded a walkover win, with Zamalek, who conducted a training session at the club's headquarters instead of going to the league clash, likely to be deducted three more points when the Egyptian Football Association's competitions committee announces its decisions over the forfeited game.

Zamalek are reeling from a run of four straight defeats that not only almost ended their hopes of challenging for the league title, but also cast doubts over their ability to finish as runners-up and qualify for the lucrative African Champions League.

With Maqassa proving the only genuine challengers to favourites Ahly on top, with seven points separating both sides, Zamalek's primary aim is to snap their losing run.

Mansour reportedly sought to give new coach Augusto Inacio some breathing space after his debut ended in a 2-0 defeat by Enppi, agreeing with Maqassa's chairman to postpone the match, citing Coptic Easter celebrations in Egypt.

The acid-tongued chairman said Egypt's interior ministry will be busy securing the Easter celebrations after twin church bombings in Tanta and Alexandria left over 40 dead last week.

However, the EFA's competitions committee said on Saturday that both clubs did not have the authority to reschedule the match on their own, sparking an angry response from Mansour.

"The relevant authorities stressed that the match will go ahead on Sunday at 07:00 PM as scheduled at Cairo's Petrosport Stadium behind closed doors," the EFA said in a letter sent to Maqassa and Zamalek.

The EFA had originally postponed the match for one day. Mansour argues that he was informed the game would take place on Tuesday, not Sunday. 

Zamalek's previous league match against Maqassa last month was also clouded with controversy when the White Knights were denied a clear penalty, with Maqassa going on to win the match 1-0. 

Ahly are leading the table with 61 points, with second-placed Maqassa on 54 and fourth-placed Zamalek on 40 but with a game in hand.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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