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Monday, 24 April 2017

Preview: Zamalek out to avoid unwanted Wydad scenario at Enugu Rangers

Zamalek take what should be a comfortable 4-1 first leg lead when they visit Nigeria's Enugu Rangers on Sunday

Omar Zaazou , Saturday 18 Mar 2017
Zamalek
Zamalek players celebrate Stanley Ohawuchi's opener in the 4-1 Champions League round of 32 first-leg victory over Enugu Rangers on Sunday (Photo Al-Ahram)
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Zamalek will be hoping to avoid a similar scenario to last season's nervy semi-final victory over Morocco's Wydad, when they take on Nigeria's Enugu Rangers in the Champions League round of 32 second leg on Sunday.

After sealing a comfortable 4-0 victory over the Moroccans in the Champions League semi-final first leg in Alexandria, Zamalek had to endure a nervy return leg away from home, where the Moroccans were on the brink of overturning the deficit having led 5-1 at a certain point.

The Whites were eventually through with an aggregate 6-5 win after a late Stanley Ohawuchi goal ensured their progress to the final, but what their fans initially thought would be a walk in the park turned out to be a difficult night to endure.

Likewise, Zamalek travel to Enugu with a 4-1 advantage from the first leg, with Zamalek attackers Ohawuchi, Hossam Salama, Ayman Hefni and Mostafa Fathi all shining at El-Salam Stadium.

A late goal from forward Bobby Clement, however, meant the Nigerians scored an away goal that they hope would prove crucial in helping them mount a fightback at Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium.

Theoretically, Zamalek should find no problem advancing to the last-16, going into the return leg with an almost fully-fit squad.

They will only miss keeper Ahmed El-Shennawi after sustaining a thigh injury in the last moments before heading for Nigeria, with Zamalek manager Mohamed Helmi now resorting to Egypt Super Cup hero Mahmoud Gennesh between the sticks.

Left-back Mohamed Nassef could make his long-awaited comeback from injury after manager Helmi was forced to move natural right-back Hosni Fathi across to the left in recent league games.

Young left-back Ahmed Fattouh proved reliable in the 4-1 win in Cairo, but Helmi would prefer to go for the experienced Nassef instead in the away clash.

Midfielders Mahmoud Abdel-Aati and Ahmed Tawfik have all returned from injury, giving the Zamalek management further options at the center of the park, alongside Tarek Hamed and Maarouf Yussuf.

Skipper Shikabala has been omitted probably due to fitness reasons after appearing out of shape as a second-half substitute in the first leg.

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

 
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