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Zamalek salvage late 1-1 draw with Mido's Wadi Degla in Egyptian league

Hatem Maher , Tuesday 29 Nov 2016
Ahmed Hossam "Mido", coach of Wadi Degla (Reuters)
Ahmed Hossam "Mido", coach of Wadi Degla (Reuters)
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Mido almost got one better over his boyhood club Zamalek but Wadi Degla conceded a late equaliser in a surprise 1-1 draw away to the Cairo giants in the Egyptian Premier League on Tuesday.

Degla looked to be cruising to a stunning win when defender Mahmoud Alaa headed home with six minutes remaining but Zamalek defender Ali Gabr, who earlier had a header that came off the crossbar, scored a rare goal in stoppage time to secure a share of spoils.

Mido, who was sent off at halftime for protesting a goal that was wrongly ruled out by the referee in the first half, might be ruing a missed chance to defeat the club that sacked him twice in the past three years as he tries to forge a successful coaching career.

Degla were repeatedly denied by Zamalek's inspired goalkeeper Ahmed El-Shennawi in the second half, with the White Knights once again failing to hit top gear under new coach Mohamed Salah, under whom the club had drawn twice in three matches.

Zamalek, who are still unbeaten in the league, lie sixth in the table with 18 points from eight matches, 11 behind leaders Ahly but with three matches in hand.

Degla, who collected five points in four matches under Mido, lie eighth with 16 points from 12 matches.

Tight defence

Wadi Degla made life difficult for Zamalek in the first half, packing their midfield and defence and trying to hit their opponents on the break.

Their strategy was largely fruitful as it restricted Zamalek to a solitary chance five minutes before the break when Nigerian forward Stanley Ohawuchi was fed by an astute through pass from compatriot Maarouf Yussuf but his left-footed effort was thwarted by the advancing keeper.

Wadi Degla were unlucky not to go ahead though when they had a goal wrongly disallowed for offside after Mohamed Helal volleyed home from a right-wing cross.

Zamalek still struggled in the final third after the break but had a chance when the pacy Stanley turned his marker inside out on the left and pulled the ball back but a defender intercepted it and cleared the danger on 47 minutes.

At the other end, Zamalek goalkeeper El-Shennawi pulled off two impressive saves to block goal-bound headers from Arafa El-Sayed and Mostafa Talaat before coming to their rescue again with 10 minutes remaining.

A defensive lapse allowed substitute Samuel Afum to break clear but the sliding El-Shennawi saved his effort. However, he was powerless to stop Alaa from giving Degla the lead when a free-kick eluded central defender Mahmoud Hamdi and found him to head home from close range.

Zamalek pushed forward en masse in the latter stages and Degla failed to expose the gaps left by their defence. Mido's men were punished for being unable to kill off the game on any breakaway as Gabr's bicycle kick found the corner of the net after he was found unmarked by a cross from substitute Ahmed Refaat.

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