5-star Zamalek maul Mahallah after retracting move to withdraw from Egyptian league
Hatem Maher , Wednesday 23 Dec 2015

Zamalek turned on style to crush bottom side Ghazl El-Mahallah 5-0 on Wednesday and atone for a controversial defeat by Talae El-Geish that prompted the Cairo club to decide to withdraw from the Egyptian Premier League before changing their mind.

Striker Ahmed Hassan Mekki netted twice, Mahallah's Mostafa Kalusha scored an own goal and Mahmoud Kahraba and Mohamed Koffi were also on target as Zamalek recorded their biggest league victory since hammering Geish 6-1 on the opening day of their triumphant campaign last season.

In their 3-2 defeat by Geish on Sunday, the Cairo giants conceded two penalties and had a player sent off, the decisions which infuriated outspoken chairman Mortada Mansour who launched a foul-mouthed rant at refereeing chief Ahmed Wagih.

Although he insisted after the defeat that Zamalek would withdraw, his remarks were not taken seriously and it was business as usual on Wednesday as the White Knights demolished a helpless Mahallah side.

The defending champions moved fourth in the table with 16 points from seven matches, five behind leaders Maqassa who played three games more.

Seamless Zamalek attack

Mahallah were surprisingly untroubled in the opening 30 minutes, with Zamalek struggling to carve out openings.

However, once an own goal put Zamalek ahead on 32 minutes the interaction between their talented attacking midfielders was seamless, with a quick exchange of passes leaving Mahallah's desperate defenders chasing shadows.

The opener came when a superb back-heel pass from playmaker Ahmed Hamoudi, who is on loan from Swiss side Basel, released overlapping right-back Omar Gaber who broke clear.

Gaber's angled shot was blocked by the keeper but it rebounded off Kalusha and into the net.

Zamalek doubled their lead three minutes later following a similar move, with Gaber running onto a through pass from Mahmoud Kahraba after the Mahallah rearguard was robbed on the edge of the area before squaring the ball to Mekki, whose close-range shot crossed the line before being palmed away by the keeper.

The 28-year-old striker put the result beyond doubt two minutes before the break with another simple close-range finish after a low cross from Ayman Hefni, who eluded his challenger with a fine move.

Zamalek picked up where they left off in the second period, launching a wave after wave of attacks that resulted in a 54th-minute goal after Kahraba made amends for a shot that had struck the post seconds earlier.

He was fed by a Hamoudi pass before sending an angled shot in off the post for the fourth goal as Mahallah's defence was torn apart.

Striker Bassem Morsi, Zamalek's top scorer last season with 18 goals, replaced Mekki to make his first appearance since recovering from injury and after being briefly suspended by the club for a breach of instructions not to post anything on social media accounts.

Koffi scored a rare goal to complete the rout with six minutes remaining when two deflections, one from a Morsi free-kick followed by another from a Maarouf Yussuf effort, rolled the ball into his path to tap in into an empty net.

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