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Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Preview: Buoyant Zamalek aim to keep lead on top ahead of Cairo derby

Ahram Online , Tuesday 19 Mar 2019
Zamalek
Zamalek defeated Arab Contractors 2-1 in the reverse Egyptian Premier League game in September 2018 (File photo: Ahram)
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Zamalek will be looking to keep intact their four-point lead on top of the Egyptian Premier League when they face Arab Contractors on Wednesday, less than 10 days before meeting Ahly in an anticipated Cairo derby.

The White Knights are in a buoyant mood after they reached the CAF Confederation Cup quarter-finals as the leaders of their group on Sunday, having atoned for a poor start to their campaign in Africa's secondary club competition.

They now turn their attention to the domestic league, which they have not won since 2015.

Zamalek are desperate not to drop any further points after a surprise 2-2 draw against Talae El-Geish last month, when they let slip a two-goal lead, allowed defending champions Ahly to close to within four points of their bitter rivals.

Ahly also narrowed the gap to one point when they crushed Petrojet 4-0 early this month but Zamalek can restore their four-point cushion with a win over an in-form Contractors side.

"We are now fully focused on the league game against Arab Contractors after fulfilling our task in the Confederation Cup," Zamalek coach Christian Gross said.

"We are keen to compete for all titles this season," the Swiss boss added.

Contractors are likely to give Zamalek a stiff test, having won two out of their last four games to move up to sixth with 34 points.

Apart from long-term absentee Mostafa Fathi, Zamalek have no injury worries for the game.

However, they will miss striker Khalid Boutaib as he joined up with Morocco for international duty. Omar El-Said is likely to deputize for him.

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

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