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Preview: Zamalek likely to rest key players as they turn attention to Champions League

Ahram Online , Wednesday 17 May 2017
Zamalek opened their African Champions League group-stage campaign with a 2-0 win over Zimbabwe's Caps United last Friday (Ahram)
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Zamalek are likely to rest some key players when they face Wadi Degla in the Egyptian Premier League on Thursday as they turn their attention to the lucrative African Champions League.

The Cairo giants are only aiming to finish third and earn a place in the Confederation Cup, Africa's secondary club competition, after losing any hope to either win the league or even claim a runners-up spot to feature in next year's Champions League.

Their only hope to qualify for Africa's flagship competition would be winning this year's edition. The 2016 runners-up made a fine start to their group-stage campaign, beating Zimbabwe's Caps United 2-0 in Alexandria.

With another clash against Libya's Ahli Tripoli coming on Tuesday, Zamalek coach Augusto Inacio opted to leave influential holding midfielder Tarek Hamed out of the Wadi Degla match.

Winger Ahmed Refaat, who is nursing a minor injury, was also left out while winger Mahmoud Shikabala and main striker Bassem Morsi may not start against Degla.

Zamalek got back to winning ways with a 2-1 victory over Arab Contractors earlier this month, finally finding the net after two straight 0-0 draws.

"The game against Degla is the best preparation for the coming Champions League clash against Ahli Tripoli," Zamalek's football director Khaled Galal said on the club's official website.

"It's also a chance to give other players more playing time so that they can gradually get into the team."

Zamalek, who are likely to be deducted three points at the end of the season after withdrawing from a match against Maqassa in April, are third in the table with 51 points, four ahead of fourth-placed Masry who have a game hand.

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