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Saturday, 16 December 2017

Zamalek's misery compounded after 1-1 draw with bottom side Ragaa

Ahram Online , Saturday 2 Dec 2017
Ragaa 1-1 Zamalek
Zamalek held to a 1-1 draw by bottom side Ragaa in the Egyptian Premier League on Saturday (Ahram)
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Zamalek's hopes of competing for the Egyptian Premier League title took another blow after they were held to a 1-1 draw by bottom side Ragaa in Alexandria on Saturday.

Ragaa stunned Zamalek when a mistake by goalkeeper Ahmed El-Shennawi gifted them a 17th-minute opener but Congolese forward Kabongo Kasongo, who came on as a second-half substitute, restored parity with a late strike for his second goal of the season.

Zamalek pushed forward in the dying minutes but were unable to make up for their 3-1 loss to Maqassa in their previous match to slip further in the title race.

They are fourth in the table with 19 points from 11 games and will further lose ground should main challengers Ismaily, Masry and defending champions Ahly win their respective matches. Ragaa are still at the bottom on just six points.

Zamalek coach Nebojsa Jovovic made five changes to his starting line-up and the White Knights struggled for rhythm in the first half.

Although Zamalek had the initiative, with forgotten striker Khaled Qamar blasting over the bar after a threaded pass from strike partner Bassem Morsi in the ninth minute, Ragaa were the livelier side in the first half.

The minnows unsettled Zamalek's midfield and backline with some neat play down the flanks, exposing the gaps behind right-back Ahmed Tawfik and Syrian left-back Moayad Ajan.

They went ahead after 17 minutes when ex-Zamalek player Moussa got ahead of out-of-form goalkeeper El-Shennawi, who was also at fault for one of the goals during the defeat by Maqassa, to head home a free kick from the left.

Hesham Fathallah was unlucky not to make it 2-0 three minutes before the break when he cut inside Zamalek's central defender Mahmoud Alaa but his curling shot narrowly missed the target.

Zamalek relatively improved after the break after Montenegrin coach Jovovic introduced Kasongo, winger Abdallah Gomaa and playmaker Mohamed Ibrahim, who returned to action after a long injury lay-off.

Bassem Morsi had a header blocked by the keeper three minutes into the second half before setting up Kasongo for the equaliser in the 73rd minute.

With his back to goal, he flicked over a long ball for Kasongo, who sneaked in at the far post to head home past the keeper.

However, Ragaa held on in the latter stages for a valuable draw.

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

 
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