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Monday, 17 June 2019

Zamalek's squad for Confederation Cup final includes only one goalkeeper

Ahram Online , Friday 17 May 2019
Omar Salah
Zamalek's third-choice goalie Omar Salah (Ahram)
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Zamalek will fear the worst every time their third-choice keeper Omar Salah, the man entrusted with keeping a clean sheet in the first leg of the African Confederation Cup final, collides with an opponent in Sunday's anticipated clash at Morocco's RS Berkane.

The reason is simple: there is no other goalkeeper sitting on the bench.

In a stroke of bad luck, regular keeper Mahmoud Gennesh was red-carded in the semi-final second leg against Tunisia's Etoile Sahel and stand-in goalie Emad El-Sayed suffered a serious hand injury in the team's 2-1 Egyptian Premier League win over Wadi Degla last week.

That leaves Salah, a rookie 21-year-old keeper who made a couple of appearances in the latter stages of the 2016/2017 season, as Zamalek's only option between the sticks in the crucial away clash to Berkane.

Striker Omar El-Said is likely to be his replacement should he get injured or sent off, having played the same role in stoppage time against Etoile when Gennesh received his marching orders.

With Zamalek leading 1-0 on aggregate, the team ensured El-Said was not tested in the dying minutes in Sousse as they sneaked into their first ever Confederation Cup final.

The White Knights flew to Morocco early Friday, two days before the game. They can take heart from wins over fellow Moroccan outfits Ittihad Tanger and Hassania Agadir in the preliminary round and quarter-final respectively.

"The players now have a big chance to write history for themselves," Zamalek's assistant coach Amir Azmi said on the club's official website.

"We came to Morocco to get a positive result. We have the utmost confidence in the players to do that."

The Cairo giants won the lucrative African Champions League five times but have never won Africa's secondary club competition. The closest they came was in 2005 when they reached the semis, only to lose to Etoile 5-4 on aggregate.

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

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