There will be no room for errors when Zamalek face Ismaily in the Egyptian Premier League on Thursday but they will be shorn of creativity after two of their key players were injured.
Zamalek received a major blow with the news that midfield linchpin Ferjani Sassi, one of their best performers this season, will be sidelined for up to six weeks after fracturing a foot bone in the 1-0 African Confederation Cup win over Morocco's Hassania Agadir on Sunday.
Winger Mahmoud Kahraba, the other creative force in their attacking setup, was also ruled out of the match against Ismaily because of injury.
Zamalek will also miss a number of other key players, including Tunisian right-back Hamdi Nagguez and central defender Mahmoud Hamdi, who are both suspended.
The absences could leave Zamalek without much of their strength but they cannot afford to drop any points in an increasingly interesting race of the title.
Zamalek's 2-1 defeat by Masry last week, only their second loss this season, allowed bitter Cairo rivals Ahly to overtake them at the top with a one-point lead with nine matches remaining.
The White Knights are buoyed by their progress to the Confed Cup semi-final but Ismaily are likely to provide a stiff test despite their stuttering form of late, which saw them draw twice and lose once in their past three matches.
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