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Friday, 27 November 2020

Preview: Zamalek aim to keep pressure on Egyptian league leaders Ahly

Zamalek face Alexandria's Ittihad at Petrosport Stadium at 20:00 CLT

Omar Zaazou , Sunday 21 Feb 2016
Zamalek striker Bassem Morsi celebrates after scoring the winner against Aswan (Photo: Ahram)
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Views: 1139

Egyptian league holders Zamalek will be eyeing their second straight win when they meet Alexandria's Ittihad on Monday to keep pressure on leaders Ahly at the top of the table.    

With five points separating the arch rivals, Zamalek will be looking for nothing less than a victory when they host an Ittihad side currently lying 13th in the league standings.

And with Ahly facing a stern test against resilient fourth-placed side Masry in another rescheduled clash on Tuesday, Zamalek will be hoping they could further narrow the gap with their perennial rivals.

Following a four-match winless streak, which saw Zamalek lose twice and draw in as many games, the Whites have finally managed to get back to winning ways with a 1-0 home win over Aswan last week.

Under caretaker boss Mohamed Salah, Zamalek looked quite convincing in the first half against newly-promoted Aswan, however, the league and cup champions failed to turn in a similar display in the second period.

With understudy keeper Mahmoud Gennesh saving his team more than once to keep a clean sheet in the second half, the Zamalek faithful will be hoping their side will be able to assert their dominance in much better fashion this time around.

However, the decision to leave out several players by interim boss Salah, who replaced Mido following the 2-0 defeat by Ahly on 9 February, may not go down well with the Zamalek fans – with keeper Ahmed El-Shennawi and winger Mostafa Fathi omitted.

After witnessing a dip in his form of late, Egypt first-choice keeper El-Shennawi found himself out of the 18-man squad for the second time in a row, while the reason behind the exclusion of skillful winger Fathi remains unknown.

Fathi, 21, has proved crucial for Zamalek in several games this season, with some superb second-half substitute performances earning him the status of a super-sub.

Similarly, the absence of center-back Ali Gabr, who was at the receiving end of a Malick Evouna goal in the Ahly defeat, and midfield anchor Tarek Hamed continues after both failed to fully recover from respective injuries.

On the other hand, skipper Shikabala returns after being ruled out of the Aswan win, following a row with teammate Mahmoud 'Kahraba' during training.

Striker Bassem Morsi, who scored in his last two Zamalek games – including the winner against Aswan, also makes the squad despite being rated doubtful due to illness.

Zamalek are second on 35 points, while Ittihad are in the bottom half with 22.  

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