Egypt's Zamalek returned to action after a four-month hiatus with a 5-0 friendly victory over Alexandria-based club Smouha on Sunday, with coach Patrice Carteron saying he treated it as if it's a competitive game.
Zamalek are gearing up for the Egyptian Premier League resumption next month as well as a vital African Champions League semi-final clash against Morocco's Raja in September.
Their realistic hopes in the domestic competition lies in finishing second and earning a spot in next season's Champions League, with perennial rivals Ahly looking poised to win a fifth straight league title.
Zamalek's primary target for the season, which also saw them win the Egyptian and African Super Cups, would be winning the Champions League for the first time in 18 years.
They looked in perfect shape against Smouha despite the lengthy stoppage, with a hat-trick from forward Youssef 'Obama' Ibrahim and goals from winger Ahmed Zizo and striker Mostafa Mohamed giving them a comprehensive win.
Both sides are also scheduled to meet in the last 16 of the Egypt Cup.
"I played with the same formation that I normally field in competitive games," French boss Carteron was quoted as saying by local media after the game.
"We are taking those games very seriously to hit top gear in the shortest possible time."
Zamalek will play further friendly games against Talae El-Geish and Pyramids before the league resumes on 6 August.
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