Zamalek defeated Gouna 1-0 in the reverse league fixture in January (Ahram)
Leaders Zamalek will be without coach Patrice Carteron and several key players when they meet Gouna in the Egyptian Premier League on Sunday as they seek to continue their winning run and extend their lead on top.
Zamalek won their past three games following their 1-1 Cairo derby draw with Ahly last month, a run which included two last-gasp victories over Talae El-Geish and Masry.
With Ahly not in action due to their African Champions League commitments, Zamalek have opened up a 13-point lead on top.
However, they are aware they can hardly afford to drop any points as the season approaches its crucial stage, given that Ahly still have five games in hand. Should the Red Devils won their rescheduled matches, they will overtake Zamalek with a two-point lead.
Zamalek are likely to face a stiff test against Gouna due to their growing list of absentees.
On top of the list is their French coach Patrice Carteron, who was given a two-match touchline ban for remonstrating with the referee during Zamalek's 1-0 victory over Ismaily in the Egypt Cup round of 16 on Thursday.
"I respect the Egyptian Football Association's decision against me. I will not comment further," Carteron said on Zamalek's official website.
The White Knights will also have to do without influential midfield partners Tarek Hamed and Ferjani Sassi as well as in-form Moroccan winger Achrraf Bencharki, who are all serving automatic suspensions.
Experienced right-back Hazem Emam is injured while his understudy, Tunisian Hamza Mathlouthi, is suspended.
Carteron, who is expected to lead his team against Gouna with his cellphone, faces a selection headache to make up for the absences.
Mahmoud Abdel-Aziz and Mohamed Ashraf, who have played a few games this season, might be deployed as Zamalek's central midfielders. Young right-back Ahmed Eid, back from an eight-game ban, is likely to replace Emam.
Gouna, who have won only once in their last seven games, lie 12th in the league table with 30 points from 24 matches.
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