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Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Preview: Buoyant Zamalek turn attention back to domestic league

Ahram Online , Wednesday 8 May 2019
Zamalek beat Wadi Degla 4-2 in their previous Egyptian Premier League game (Ahram)
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Zamalek, buoyant by their qualification for the CAF Confederation Cup final, turn their attention back to the Egyptian Premier League on Thursday as the title race looks likely to go down to the wire.

The White Knights kept their treble dreams alive after a 0-0 draw at Tunisia's Etoile Sahel on Sunday lifted them to the final of Africa's secondary club competition with a 1-0 aggregate win.

But with no or little room for error in the domestic league, Zamalek are aware they cannot rest on their laurels as they meet an improving Wadi Degla side.

Losing the title this season might be very bitter for Zamalek after they enjoyed a superb run of form for the majority of the season, only to falter in a crucial stage to allow arch rivals Ahly to bridge a seven-point gap and overtake them on top.

But should Zamalek win their two matches in hand, they will only be one point behind Ahly and will have destiny in their own hands as both sides meet in what could be a title-deciding Cairo derby in the last round.

Zamalek lie third in the table with 60 points from 27 matches, five behind Pyramids who played 31 and seven adrift of leaders Ahly who played 29.

The White Knights defeated Degla 4-2 in the corresponding league fixture in November last year but the latter club are likely to provide stiffer opposition this time around, having improved remarkably to ease any relegation worries.

Their possession-based football, masterminded by Greek coach Takis Gonias, is starting to yield results as Degla haven't tasted defeat in their last seven matches, winning four.

Zamalek's Moroccan striker Khalid Boutaib and right-back Hazem Emam remain doubtful for the game, while Tunisia midfielder Ferjani Sassi is out as he still nurses a foot injury.

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