Zamalek coach Jorvan Vieira has played down the significance of the team's first Egyptian Premier League defeat this season after they lost 2-1 to Petrojet on Thursday.
The Cairo side set a club record for the best league start after beating Dakhleya last month for their 10th consecutive victory but their winning streak came to an end at the hands of Petrojet.
A resolute Petrojet side scored in stoppage time to claim all three points after Zamalek's in-form Burkinabe striker Abdoulaye Cisse cancelled out Mohamed Koffi's first-half opener.
"That day would have come anyway. We have some injuries but this is no excuse," Brazilian boss Vieira told the post-match news conference.
"This defeat will not ruin what we did this season, and I will not give detractors the chance to destabilize the team," he added in a swipe at journalists.
Zamalek are favourites to end a nine-year league drought after producing a string of impressive displays characterized by a solid defence and a potent attack force masterminded by promising playmaker Mohamed Ibrahim.
They lie on top of Group B of the league's new format with 30 points, six clear of second-placed Ismaily and a massive 13 above third-placed Talae El-Gaish.
A win over Petrojet would have secured their place in the decisive round, where a mini-league with only home fixtures will be played to determine the champion.
"We still have a comfortable lead over our challengers. A defeat at this stage is better than a defeat in the decisive phase," Vieira added.
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