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Preview: Zamalek face reeling Hodoud in bid to bridge gap

Zamalek aim to narrow gap with league Group B leaders Ismaily by beating Haras El-Hodoud on Sunday

Omar Zaazou, Sunday 19 Jan 2014
File photo: Zamalek pose for a pre-match photograph (Photo: Al-Ahram)
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Views: 794
Zamalek will be eyeing a victory over Haras El-Hodoud in the Egyptian Premier League Sunday to bridge the gap with Group B leaders Ismaily.
Should the third-placed Zamalek beat second-from-bottom Hodoud, the Whites will be only one point behind the Dervishes who are currently topping Group B with ten points.
Zamalek, whose only loss so far came at the hands of Ismaily, secured six points from two victories against Masry and Talae El-Gaish, whereas Hodoud -- who have played four games -- are yet to register their first win in the competition.
The military outfit surprisingly slumped to defeats to newly-promoted sides Minya and Qanah in a barren run that condemned them to penultimate place.
Zamalek manager Helmy Toulan will face his former side, whom he had been in charge of for five years since 2002, before returning back in 2012 for another season at Hodoud’s helm.
Anticipated debuts
The match could see two new signings make their debut for Zamalek, as former Ismaily winger Omar Gamal and ex-Gouna forward Arafa El-Sayed have made the squad for the first time.
Zamalek, however, will still be missing influential right-back Hazem Emam through a niggling groin injury that has sidelined him since the start of the season.
Meanwhile, former Zamalek forward Gamal Hamza is likely to make his bow for Hodoud after signing for the Alexandrians in the winter break.
Previous meetings
A side to be reckoned with, Hodoud frustrated Zamalek twice in their debut top-flight season in 2002.
Hodoud sprang a surprise at the time when they beat the then-Egyptian league holders 2-1, before holding them to a 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture.
So far, Hodoud have handed Zamalek seven league defeats, and lost to the 11-time Egyptian champions as many times.
Most memorable in their head-to-head record is the 5-0 drubbing Zamalek got at the hands of Hodoud in the 2005-06 season; the heaviest defeat in both teams’ meetings.
Throughout their 20 competitive games, both outfits played out four league draws.
Their Sunday’s league clash marks their first meeting in over two years. Their last game came in the Egyptian Cup semis in 2011, when Zamalek advanced to the final with a 2-1 victory.
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