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Zamalek keeper El-Shennawi under fire after error-ridden display in Cairo derby

Hatem Maher , Tuesday 9 Jan 2018
Zamalek
Ahly's Walid Azaro scores the third goal after a slip by Zamalek goalkeeper Ahmed El-Shennawi (Reuters)
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Zamalek's keeper Ahmed El-Shennawi was vilified by his club fans after an error-ridden display during the 3-0 Cairo derby loss to Ahly on Monday, with some calling on Egypt coach Hector Cuper to reconsider calling up the towering shot-stopper for the World Cup.

El-Shennawi was partly at fault for Ahly's two first-half goals and was fully responsible for conceding a third after the break as the Red Devils outplayed their tame opponents to claim the derby bragging rights.

Ahly took a third-minute lead when Zamalek's central midfielder Tarek Hamed buckled under pressure after receiving a pass from El-Shennawi on the left, with Walid Soliman robbing him to set up Moemen Zakareya for the opener.

El-Shennawi felled Tunisian left-back Ali Maaloul shortly before the break as Ahly were awarded a penalty which Abdallah El-Said converted, with the keeper blamed for needlessly rushing out after Maaloul beat the offside trap.

Early in the second half, the match was ended as a contest when Moroccan striker Walid Azaro added a third, with a slip by El-Shennawi leaving him with the simple task of slotting into an empty net.

Newspapers ran headlines criticizing the 26-year-old and internet memes mocked his stops.

"Walid Soliman was the best player on the pitch after El-Shennawi," one Ahly fan sarcastically said on Twitter using the handle @HimaCris.

Another football fan, @Kariem88ahmed, said: "Apart from any club loyalties, how would El-Shennawi play at the World Cup?"

Inconsistency

El-Shennawi has been Zamalek's first choice keeper since penning a permanent deal with the club in 2014, joining from Port Said-based club Masry.

But his inconsistency this term has led to doubts over whether he really deserves to be the club's regular guardian. He was occasionally overtaken by understudy Mahmoud Gennesh but regained his place after the latter committed some costly errors.

Zamalek's outspoken chairman Mortada Mansour said four key players will be put up for sale, including El-Shennawi. However, the bad-tempered president usually makes such statements in the heat of the moment without really taking an action.

"I will not get upset from the words of the fans or the chairman … I thank everyone for the support they have given me in the five years I spent at the club and I will accept any decision of offloading or selling me," El-Shennawi said on his official Twitter account.

"I will be loyal to Zamalek until the very last moment at the club."

Egypt's Argentinean boss Hector Cuper has recently refused to confirm who would be the Pharaohs' first-choice keeper on their first World Cup appearance since 1990.

El-Shennawi started Egypt's opening African Nations Cup game last year but picked up an injury and was replaced with 44-year-old custodian Essam El-Hadary, who went on to play an instrumental role in lifting the team to the final in Gabon.

El-Hadary has been the preferred choice between the sticks then, appearing in all of Egypt's World Cup qualifying games.

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

 
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