A toothless Zamalek side failed to gain a first-leg advantage in the Confederation Cup round of 16 after being held to a 0-0 home draw by Morocco's FUS Rabat, who proved a tough nut to crack on Sunday.
Missing a reliable striker, Zamalek huffed and puffed throughout the 90 minutes and they were easily contained by the defensive-minded FUS Rabat, who were happy to share honors at the final whistle.
Striker Ahmed Ali made a rare start as Zamalek's coach Jesualdo Ferreira gave him the nod ahead of regular starter Khaled Qamar and his substitute Bassem Morsi, but the 28-year-old failed to make his presence felt.
Wingers Ahmed Eid and Hazem Emam were also out of form, as was talented playmaker Ayman Hefni who Zamalek usually rely on to unlock tight backlines.
Ferreira's interventions during the second half failed to pay off as midfielder Ahmed Tawfik and Qamar and Morsi, who were all introduced after the break, did not make any impact.
Despite dominating possession, the White Knights struggled to create any goal-scoring opportunities.
It was the visitors who threatened Zamalek as FUS striker Youssoupha Nje intercepted a short headed pass from defender Islam Gamal but his lob struck the bar on 30 minutes.
There was also a strong penalty claim for FUS waved away by the referee when Zamalek defender Mohamed Koffi appeared to bring down a Moroccan striker in the area.
Zamalek, who won their last African trophy in 2002 when they lifted the Champions League trophy, are likely to face a tough second-leg test when they face FUS in Rabat on the first of May.
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