Zamalek make up for surprise loss with 2-0 win over 10-man Ittihad

Ahram Online , Sunday 7 Feb 2021

Zamalek move five points clear on top but challengers Ahly still have two games in hand in the Egyptian Premier League

Ahmed Zizo scored Zamalek's opener (File photo: Ahram)

Zamalek made up for a stunning loss to Ghazl El-Mahalla by beating 10-man Ittihad 2-0 on Sunday to move five points clear on top of the Egyptian Premier League table.

The Cairo giants were once again profligate in a first half they dominated, with the 25th-minute dismissal of Ittihad's Ivorian winger Razack Cisse, who is on loan from Zamalek, hampering the Alexandria club.

Lively Tunisian forward Seifeddine Jaziri, who made his debut after joining from Arab Contractors on loan, won a penalty that winger Ahmed Zizo converted as Zamalek broke Ittihad's resistance on the hour mark.

Deep-lying forward Youssef Ibrahim wrapped up the win with a 76th-minute header, with Jaziri again involved in the build-up. Ibrahim took his tally to six goals this season as he moved joint top of the league's scoring chart.  

Zamalek, who threw away their lead to lose 2-1 to promoted Mahalla in their previous game, are on top with 26 points, five clear of Ahly who have two games in hand.

Ittihad are 11th on 11 points but they still have three matches in hand.

Tribute to victims 

Before kick-off, Zamalek players wore shirts emblazoned with the number 20 in a tribute to the victims of a stadium tragedy on 8 February, 2015 when the team's supporters died of stampede after being tear-gassed by security forces as they attempted to attend a league game.   

In an action-packed first half against Ittihad, Zamalek wasted two clear-cut chances in the first quarter of an hour.

Jaziri pounced on a needless rush out by Ittihad keeper Sobhi to deliver an inviting cross to Ibrahim, whose bouncing header was cleared off the line by full-back Ammar Hamdi.

Zizo ran onto a deft through pass from Emam Ashour to break clear on 15 minutes but his angled effort was tipped over by Sobhi.

The in-form Cisse received a straight red card after inadvertently stamping on the shin of Tarek Hamed as both men tussled for the ball. He received his marching orders after a VAR review. 

Ittihad abandoned their bold approach and put men behind the ball following Cisse's dismissal, making it hard for Zamalek to carve out openings.

However, the White Knights still had another chance before the break when a loose ball fell to the unmarked Mahmoud Alaa in the area but Sobhi produced a fine save once again to palm away his shot.

Ittihad's tight defence left Zamalek with little space to operate in the second half but Jaziri still won a penalty when Jamaican defender Damion Lowe kicked his heel as he attempted to steal possession, with Zizo lashing the spot kick past the despairing dive of Sobhi.

Lowe was again at fault as Ibrahim cut ahead of him to head home at the near post following a pinpoint right-wing cross from Ashour.

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