Zamalek were held to 0-0 draw by bottom side FC Masr in the Egyptian Premier League on Tuesday after fielding a side mostly comprised of youngsters, a few days before they meet bitter rivals Ahly in the Cairo derby.
The White Knights could not break down their modest opponents, who appeared better for large parts of the drab affair.
It took Zamalek 84 minutes to create their first real chance when forward Youssef Ibrahim, who returned from injury, had a close-range header blocked by keeper Essam Tharwat after a corner was flicked into his path.
Young striker Osama Faisal could have snatched a stoppage-time winner, just like what another youngster did in the 1-0 victory over Maqassa on Saturday, but Tharwat smothered him in a one-on-one.
FC Masr could have stunned their illustrious opponents in the first half, with striker Reda El-Weeshi having a header saved by Zamalek keeper Mahmoud Gennesh and Mostafa Sultan blasting a volley over the crossbar from inside the area.
Zamalek coach Patrice Carteron paid the price of fielding six novice footballers in the starting line-up as the team looked disjointed. The second-half introduction of some regulars, including Moroccan duo Achraf Bencharki and Mohamed Ounajem, failed to spur them into action.
The Cairo giants remain second in their battle to earn the last African Champions League spot, with runaway leaders Ahly look destined to win a fifth successive league title.
Zamalek have 39 points from 20 games, two ahead of Arab Contractors and three clear of fourth-placed Pyramids. Zamalek next face Ahly on Saturday.
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