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Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Preview: Zamalek coach Gross likely to stick to bold strategy despite opening draw

Ahram Online , Friday 3 Aug 2018
Zamalek were held to a 0-0 draw by Petrojet in their opening Egyptian Premier League game on Tuesday (Photo: Zamalek's official Facebook page)
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Zamalek's new coach Christian Gross is unlikely to abandon his firm attacking approach when his side meet Ittihad in the Egyptian Premier League on Saturday despite an opening draw with Petrojet earlier this week.

The White Knights' fans were expecting more from their team after an active summer saw them make some high-profile signings but they were lackluster in a disappointing 0-0 draw with Petrojet.

They were even lucky not to lose after being outplayed by Petrojet for large spells, although Gross opted for an all-out attack after deploying a formation that only included one central midfielder, four attacking midfielders and a lone striker.

Zamalek will be looking to make amends and claim their first win of the season at the expense of Ittihad, who also drew 1-1 with Arab Contractors in their opening game.

However, Gross is likely to keep faith with his bold strategy as he seeks to make the most of an embarrassment of attacking riches at his disposal.

"My strategy is an attacking one that aims to press the opponents high up the pitch and dominate proceedings," the Swiss coach, who took over at the club in the summer following the departure of interim boss Khaled Galal, said on Zamalek's official website.

"This happened against Petrojet; we were in control but we could not win because of the chances we wasted throughout the game. I know well the capabilities of my players and I know how to take full advantage of that.

"The game against Ittihad is our first at home this season and winning it will be very important," he added.

Zamalek welcome back influential defensive midfielder Tarek Hamed, an Egyptian international who was one of the Pharaohs' key players at the World Cup in Russia. His future was the subject of intense media speculation in the summer but he eventually opted to stay put.

However, the Cairo giants will miss Tunisia midfielder Ferjani Sassi, who remains short of match fitness following his arrival from Saudi Arabia's Al-Nassr on a three-year deal.

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

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