Destiny is no longer in Zamalek's hands as perennial rivals Ahly get ready for what could be a title-deciding Wednesday in the Egyptian Premier League, with the Red Devils just a victory away from a fourth straight crown.
Zamalek, leaders for most of the season, at one point went seven points clear of Ahly but they faltered when it mattered most, with some disappointing results allowing their Cairo foes to overtake them.
Ahly, who had their fortunes turned around by some high-profile January signings, are now five points clear of Zamalek following the latter's crucial 2-2 draw with Gouna earlier this week and will be crowned champions with one match to spare if they beat Arab Contractors on Wednesday.
Zamalek will hope to beat Ismaily on the same day and await a gift from Contractors.
Should Contractors hold Ahly to a draw or beat their fancied opponents for the second time this season, the race will go down to the final match of the season - a Cairo derby between Ahly and Zamalek on Sunday.
Zamalek are reeling following the sudden departure of coach Christian Gross, who the club's controversial chairman opted to dismiss although the Swiss led the White Knights to the Confederation Cup title, their first African triumph since 2003.
His replacement, the novice Khaled Galal, is struggling to get things going and Zamalek were held to two successive draws under his guidance.
Ahly, on the other hand, play their first competitive match in almost two months following a lengthy African Cup of Nations break but will be extra motivated by the prospect of wrapping up the title before meeting Zamalek.
Zamalek welcome back influential left-back Abdallah Gomaa, who missed the draw against Gouna due to automatic suspension. Ahly have no major injury worries for their meeting against Contractors.
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