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Preview: Alarm bells ring for Zamalek after stunning Egyptian league loss

Ahram Online , Friday 31 Aug 2018
Zamalek
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Zamalek will be looking to avert an early crisis when they meet Enppi in the Egyptian Premier League on Saturday, having been reminded of familiar troubles when they suffered a stunning defeat by a promoted side in their previous game.

The Cairo giants were joint leaders with seven points from three games before meeting Nogoom FC, the only side that are making their top-flight debut among the 18 clubs, last Monday.

Nogoom inflicted a shock loss on Zamalek, who struggled to break down a well-drilled defence to suffer a 1-0 defeat - their first of the season.

For all their high-profile summer signings, Zamalek hardly look anything close to a harmonious unit. Swiss coach Christian Gross is adopting firm attacking strategies but the scheme looked to have backfired against Nogoom, with the defence struggling to deal with any counter attacks.

Sometimes Zamalek also find it difficult to carve out openings, despite the array of attacking talents at Gross' disposal.

"Nofoom FC is a defensive side and they closed down spaces well. This resulted in us finding it hard to penetrate the defence and create goal-scoring chances," Gross said on Zamalek's official website.

"We are working hard to improve the weak aspects of our game in order to return to winning ways."

Enppi are likely to prove a tough opponent to Zamalek, having made a fine start to the season. They have six points from four games, only one short of their Saturday opponents.

Zamalek welcome back wingers Mostafa Fathi and Abdallah Gomaa to their squad for the game. However, another winger, Mahmoud Kahraba, is left out for disciplinary reasons.

Kahraba, who was part of Egypt's squad for the summer World Cup in Russia, returned to Zamalek in the close season after ending a two-year loan spell with Jeddah-based club Ittihad.

He scored and provided two assists in Zamalek's 5-1 thrashing of Ittihad of Alexandria early this month but reports said he was punished by the club for disciplinary reasons. He was also left out of Egypt's squad for the upcoming African Nations Cup qualifier against Niger on 8 September.

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

 
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