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Preview: Zamalek face Dakhleya with one eye on Confed Cup fnal

Ahram Online , Sunday 12 May 2019
Zamalek
File photo of Zamalek (Ahram)
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A worn-out Zamalek side continue their bid towards a first Egyptian Premier League title in four years against struggling Dakhleya on Sunday, with one eye also set on the anticipated African Confederation Cup final a week later.

Zamalek labored to a precious 2-1 league win over Wadi Degla on Thursday to keep their pursuit of nemesis and leaders Ahly, but appeared largely exhausted as they still battle on three fronts.

Last week, they qualified for the Confederation Cup final after a 0-0 draw at Tunisia's Etoile Sahel lifted them through with a 1-0 aggregate win as they chase their first ever triumph in Africa's secondary club competition.

They face Morocco's RS Berkane in the first leg of the final away from home next Sunday.

"We are having a very packed schedule, because we are the only Egyptian team left in an African competition," said Amir Mansour, the son of chairman Mortada Mansour and the football team supervisor.

"We are suffering from exhaustion because of that and we would have fared better against Degla had we had proper time to rest."

Zamalek don't have the luxury to take any rest as they challenge Ahly all the way in one of the most exciting duels in recent years. At the halfway stage of the season, Zamalek enjoyed a seven-point lead over Ahly, only to falter badly to allow their perennial rivals to overtake them on top.

However, should the White Knights win their game in hand, they will close to within one point of Ahly and will have destiny in their own hands as both sides meet in what could be a title-deciding Cairo derby on the final day of the season following the summer's African Cup of Nations.

Dakhleya have slim hopes to retain their top-flight status as they lie second from bottom in the table with 27 points, seven adrift of the safety zone with three matches remaining.

Zamalek's defender Mahmoud Hamdi is doubtful for the match against Dakhleya after picking up an injury in the win over Degla.

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

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