Preview: Inacio's job hangs by a thread as Zamalek aim to ease crisis

Ahram Online , Wednesday 5 Jul 2017

Zamalek coach Augusto Inacio (File photo: Reuters)

Zamalek coach Augusto Inacio, whose job is hanging by a thread, will rest his key players for a meaningless Egyptian Premier League game against Ittihad of Alexandria on Thursday as the team prepare for a crunch African Champions League clash on Sunday.

Media reports initially said Zamalek's outspoken chairman Mortada Mansour, known for his fiery temper, had immediately sacked Inacio following the team's stunning 3-1 defeat by Zimbabwe's Caps United in Harare earlier this week which left them facing elimination from the Champions League.

However, Mansour later said he had not yet made up his mind over whether to relieve the Portuguese boss of his duties.

He launched a fierce attack on the former Sporting Lisbon coach, who can only save his job if Zamalek qualify for the Champions League quarter-final when the group stage concludes next weekend.

"Inacio and his assistants will remain in their job until the Ahli Tripoli match. We don't want to distract anyone before this decisive game," Mansour said on Zamalek's official website.

Zamalek, runners up of last year's edition, are at the bottom of Group B with five points, one behind Caps United and three adrift of joint leaders Ahli Tripoli and USM Alger.

They need to defeat Ahli Tripoli at home next weekend and hope Caps United do not overcome USM Alger in Algiers if they are to book a last-eight berth.

They face Ittihad in their penultimate league game on Thursday, only three days before the vital clash against Ahli Tripoli in Alexandria.

With a third-place finish and a CAF Confederation Cup place already assured, Zamalek have nothing to play for in their remaining two matches in the domestic league, which was won by arch-rivals Ahly.

Zamalek and Ahly clash in their last league match on 17 July.

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