Ahmed Zizo Sayed. (Photo: Al-Ahram)
The Egyptian giants, who won the Confederation Cup title in 2019, were stunned by the Djiboutian minnows on 16 September in Tanzania, where Arta Solar scored two goals in the second half by Gabriel Dadzie and Doualeh Mahamoud Elabeh.
Zamalek missed several scoring chances in the first leg, especially by Shikabala and Seifeddine Jaziri, and also suffered from the absence of some key players due to injuries, including Ahmed ‘Zizo’ Sayed and Ahmed Fatouh.
Nevertheless, Zamalek will have the advantage of playing at home in front of 30,000 fans, at Cairo International Stadium, after obtaining approval from the security authorities.
However, Zamalek received a boost ahead of the second leg with the return of Zizo, who has recovered from his injury and is expected to boost the team’s creativity and attacking options.
Moreover, Ahmed Fatouh is back to training and expected to reinforce Zamalek’s defence after recovering from injury, and Hossam Abdel-Meged who suffered a Knee bruise in Zamalek’s tie with Arab Contractors is ready for the Arta Solar match.
The White Knights must win by a margin of at least three goals to reach the group stage.
Arta Solar, on the other hand, will rely on their defensive discipline and counter-attacking strategy to preserve their lead and achieve a historic feat by knocking out Zamalek.
The Djiboutian side, who secured their first-ever win over an Egyptian team in the first leg, have a star player in Salomon Kalou, the former Chelsea and Lille forward who won the UEFA Champions League with the Blues in 2012.
(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)