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Preview: Zamalek hope to end Ahly jinx in Egypt Cup final as they seek domestic double

Zamalek will be eyeing the season's double for the first time since 1988

Ahram Online , Sunday 20 Sep 2015
Bassem Morsi
Zamalek striker Bassem Morsi fighting for the ball with Ahly's Saad Samir and Moemen Zakareya in their league meeting on 21 July (Photo: Reuters)
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Views: 1247

Zamalek will be hoping for an end to their Ahly jinx when the arch rivals lock horns in the Egypt Cup final at Cairo's Petrosport Stadium on Monday, as the Egyptian League champions eye a double this season.

Having failed to beat Ahly in 21 games in all competitions since a 2-0 league win in the 2006/ 2007 season, Zamalek will be wishing things would go their way this time around as they eye the season's double for the first time since 1988.

Zamalek fans, however, will be fearing a repeat of the team's dismal performance against Smouha in the Egypt Cup semis, a match that could have well seen their club wave goodbye to the competition if it wasn't for some heroics from understudy keeper Mahmoud 'Gennesh.

Gennesh put in a superb performance during regular time to preserve a clean sheet as Zamalek endured a deluge of Smouha attacks, before blocking three penalties to steer his side to a 4-3 shootout win.

The Ex-Olympic keeper also played a crucial role in Zamalek's qualification to the cup semis following another outstanding display in a quarter-final shooutout victory over Alexandria's Ittihad.

Shennawi out for Zamalek, Ahly miss Soliman

With Egypt first-choice goalie Ahmed El-Shennawi ruled out by manager Jesualdo Ferreira, Gennesh now looks set to claim his role between the sticks once again against Ahly.

The league holders will also miss talented midfielder Mohamed Ibrahim, but this time due to an injury sustained during the Smouha win.

But wizard Ayman Hefni has been named for the cup final by Ferreira, who curiously opted to leave him out against Smouha without specifying exactly why.

The news that Ahly playmaker Walid Soliman will be absent has also come as a good news for Zamalek, who will also be missing defensive midfielder Ibrahim Salah due to injury.

Ahly's newly-signed Gabonese striker Malick Evouna will also sit out against Zamalek due to a thigh complaint suffered in the Confederation Cup win over Stade Malien.

"Evouna is nursing a groin injury and will not be able to play in the cup final," Ahly boss Fathi Mabrouk, who will continue at the helm after being given a vote of confidence by the club's board, told reporters.

But strike partner John Antwi, signed alongside Evouna in the summer, is set to spearhead Ahly's attack, as Emad Meteb and Amr Gamal have also been selected.

Manager Mabrouk, however, will have to do without injured midfielder Hossam Ghaly. It remains to be seen who will sit alongside holder Hossam Ashour in front of the defense.

The match could also see Mabrouk, who was widely acclaimed for his tactics in the 2-0 league win over Zamalek, field some debutants having included forwards Ahmed El-Sheikh and Hamdi Zaki in the squad after arriving in the close season.

Their meeting in the Egypt Cup final also meant that Ahly and Zamalek will meet in the Super Cup, regardless of who wins the cup.

The Cairo giants could also potentially clash in the CAF Confederation Cup, should both teams march through the semis and make it to the two-legged African final.

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