Lackluster Zamalek claim a narrow win over Ittihad of Alexandria
Karim Farouk, Monday 23 Sep 2019
Mostafa Mohamed scored Zamalek's winner against Ittihad of Alexandria

An early goal from promising striker Mostafa Mohamed was enough for nervy Zamalek to beat Ittihad of Alexandria 1-0 in Cairo on Monday to secure a winning start to their league campaign.

Serbian coach Milutin Sredojevic "Micho" made six changes to the team that lost to Ahly at the weekend, leaving out several regular starters including captain Mahmoud "Shikabala" Abdel-Razeq, Achraf Bencharki, Youssef "Obama" Ibrahim and suspended Tarek Hamed

Zamalek got off to a flying start when Mohamed latched onto a long pass from Ahmed "Zizo" El-Sayed to send a left-footed shot in off the far post in the fifth minute.

A few minutes later Ittihad keeper was forced to make a superb stretch to deny Hamdi Nagguez's free kick.

The Whites lost their rhythm after the opening 15 minutes allowing Ittihad to push forward seeking the equalizer. They had their best chances when Uganda striker Emmanuel Okwi slipped past his marker but his close range shot was denied by a fine tackle from Mahmoud Alaa before Khaled Kamar's free kick was easily held by keeper Mohamed Awad.

The Alexandrian side upped their game after the interval and gained control of play but failed to create any real threat on the hosts' keeper.

Zamalek sat back on defence and relied on counter-attacks that became rare as the clock was ticking.

Micho introduced Obama, Omar El-Said and Mohamed Abdel-Shafi in an attempt to turn around his fortunes but the team struggled to make an impact.

Ittihad came close to an equalizer in the 80th minute as El-Sayed Salem's cross found Okwi unmarked in the area but his header went easily in the hands of the keeper.

The visitors also claimed a late penalty as Alaa denied Kamar's powerful shot from inside the box but the referee waved play on.

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