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Friday, 15 November 2019

Preview: Zamalek out to inflict first defeat on Sfaxien in more than decade in Confed Cup

Zamalek and Tunisia's Sfaxien to face off in the Confederation Cup group-stage opener at Cairo's Petrosport Stadium on Saturday at 22:00 CLT

Omar Zaazou , Friday 26 Jun 2015
Zamalek forward Ahmed Eid is among the key players against Sfaxien
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Views: 1056

Zamalek will be looking for their first win over Tunisia's Sfaxien in over a decade when both teams clash in the Confederation Cup group B opener at Petrosport Stadium in Cairo on Saturday.

After last beating Sfaxien in a regional competition back in 2003, a 3-1 away victory, Zamalek failed to overcome the Tunisians in the five following meetings in the same tournament, losing four and drawing one.

Now the Whites have the chance to avenge those defeats, but this time in an official competition acknowledged by FIFA in the Confederation Cup, unlike the regional Arab Champions League that is not recognised by the world football governing body.

Their upcoming clash marks their first-ever meeting in the Confederation Cup, as their last meeting in Africa came in the Champions League semis in 1996 – where Zamalek went through on penalties.

En route to the Confederation Cup last-eight, Zamalek had to overcome a 1-0 first-leg trailing to DR Congo's Sanga Balende in the round of 16, before triumphing in Cairo 3-1 to march through.

On the other hand, three-time Confederation Cup holders Sfaxien swept aside a tougher rival in Ivory Coast's Asec Mimosas – winning 3-1 on aggregate to join Zamalek, South Africa's Orlando Pirates and Congo's Leopards in the group stage.

Team news

Egyptian league leaders Zamalek, who eye on their maiden Confederation Cup, enter the game on the back of a 3-0 league victory over Arab Contractors a few days ago.

The continental match was initially due to be played on Sunday before CAF informed Zamalek that the match will be brought forward one day.

Zamalekو who play a league fixture almost every three daysو were understandably not content with the CAF's decision, which they said they do not know the reason behind, despite informing the association of their meeting date with Sfaxien before Ahly, who also host Esperance on Sunday.

Even so, Zamalek football director Ismail Youssef reiterated that they are keen to overcome the hectic schedule and bag all three points when they meet their North African rivals.

"We will be looking for a win, we hope we could put in a good performance and not be adversely affected by playing a match every three days," Youssef said.

"I'm not at overly concerned with facing Sfaxien, we are a tournament-winning side and should not fear anyone."

Zamalek, however, may be forced to do without defender Ali Gabr after missing the Contractors' win due to a foot injury.

His absence will leave Portuguese manger Jesualdo Ferreira with two options in Islam Gamal and Ahmed Dwidar to fill in the center-back slot alongside Burkina Faso defender Mohamed Koffi.

Having featured in the win over Contractors, Gamal is likely to be given the nod ahead of Dwidar – whom Ferreira does not seem entirely convinced by.

Otherwise, Zamalek have no injury concerns, with Ferreira expected to be fielding his regular XI in Saturday's fixture. 

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


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