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Sunday, 18 March 2018

Preview: Talks of 'mega signing' overshadow Zamalek's second-place quest

Ahram Online , Tuesday 13 Mar 2018
File photo Zamalek's chairman Mortada Mansour (Photo: Ahmed Hassan/Ahram Sport)
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Views: 609

Zamalek will be looking to maintain their winning run and continue their quest for a second-place finish in the Egyptian Premier League when they meet lowly Ragaa on Wednesday but the match was overshadowed by talks of a failed bid to land Ahly playmaker Abdallah El-Said.

Mortada Mansour, the outspoken chairman of Zamalek, made headlines when he hinted earlier this week that his side would make a shock move to sign El-Said, whose deal with arch-rivals Ahly would expire at the end of the season, but stopped short of naming him.  

The controversial lawyer described it as the "deal of the century", drawing mockery from Ahly's fans who doubted there will ever be a mega signing come Saturday, the date set by Mansour to announce the deal.

El-Said on Tuesday penned a two-year contract extension with Ahly to end reports linking him with a shock move to Zamalek but Mansour still insisted he would hold a news conference on Saturday to reveal the details of a new, high-profile signing.

Zamalek coach Ihab Glala would be hoping his side won't get distracted as they pursue a second-place finish to earn qualification for the African Champions League.

Although they slumped to a surprise 2-1 loss at Ethiopia's Wolaitta Dicha last week in the first-leg of the African Confederation Cup round of 32, they have been in an impressive form in the domestic league recently, chalking up six consecutive wins under Galal.

They lie third in the table with 51 points, just two behind second-placed Ismaily with seven matches remaining. Masry are third on 49 points but still have a game in hand in a tight race for the second spot.

Ragaa are unlikely to pose a threat to Zamalek's winning run as they lie second from bottom with just 22 points from 28 matches.

Zamalek welcome back out-of-favour striker Bassem Morsi and attacking midfielder Mohamed Ibrahim. Ayman Hefni, their veteran playmaker, was left out of the squad.

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

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