Preview: Zamalek need to arrest slump in form to stay in touch with leaders

Ahram Online , Wednesday 24 Nov 2021

Zamalek will be eager to arrest their recent slump in form when they face Ceramica Cleopatra in the Egyptian Premier League on Thursday as they can ill-afford to fall further in the title race.

Zamalek played out a 1-1 draw with NBE Club in their previous Egyptian Premier League game (Photo: the club s official Twitter account)

The White Knights are five points behind early pacesetters and perennial Cairo rivals Ahly after just five games of the season, casting serious doubts over their ability to defend their league crown.

A FIFA transfer ban seems to have taken its toll, with Zamalek struggling to fill in for striker Mostafa Mohamed and Tunisian midfielder Ferjani Sassi, who left the club last season.

Zamalek lacked spark in their recent games, which saw them suffer a stunning 5-3 Cairo derby loss to Ahly before being held to a 1-1 draw by NBE Club.

They needed a second-half penalty from spot-kick specialist Ahmed Zizo to salvage a draw with NBE, having struggled to create openings in another disappointing affair.

"We are having a difficult phase, but losing two points is not the end of the world," said Zamalek's French coach Patrice Carteron, who steered the club to their first league title since 2015 last term.

Ceramica Cleopatra, who made their maiden top-flight appearance last season, made a fine start to the new campaign, collecting eight points from their first five games as they sit fifth in the table, only two points behind Zamalek.

Zamalek welcome back key Moroccan winger Achraf Bencharki and striker Omar El-Said after both had missed the draw with NBE after picking up knocks.

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