Preview: Ahly and Zamalek to face off in the Cairo derby with eyes on continental semis

Ahram Online , Sunday 14 Apr 2024

Zamalek will host Ahly at Cairo Stadium on Monday in a delayed league game, serving as their final test before the CAF inter-club semi-finals.

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Ahly's Mohamed Hany fights for the ball with Zamalek's Hossam Abdel-Meguid. Photo: Ahram

 

The White Knights are set to play against Ghanaian side Dreams FC in the first leg of the Confederation Cup semi-finals on Sunday, while Ahly will have a tough mission in Lubumbashi against TP Mazembe of DR Congo on Saturday in the Champions League.

A victory in the Cairo derby will provide a morale boost for the winning team ahead of their continental duties, and it will also impact their position in the domestic league table.

Currently, Zamalek sit in 12th place with 18 points from 12 games, while Ahly are in 10th place with 21 points from ten games.

Pyramids FC are leading the table with 29 points from 14 games.

Zamalek come into the game with confidence following their 3-0 win over Ittihad of Alexandria last week.

Midfielders Ahmed Hamdi, Nasser Maher, and Ahmed "Zizo" Sayed have displayed strong performances, but the team's goalkeeper, Mohamed Awaad, and the defensive line remain areas of concern.

Zamalek coach Jose Gomes is also facing challenges in selecting his first-choice striker, as Samson Akinyoola, Nasser Mansi, and Tunisian forward Seif Jaziri haven't been convincing so far.

Forward Youssef 'Obama' Ibrahim and keeper Mohamed Sobhi will miss the game as well as wingers Mostafa Shalaby and Mahmoud "Shikabala" Abdel-Razek who are yet to recover from different injuries.

Under Gomes' guidance, Zamalek suffered a 2-0 defeat to Ahly in the Egypt Cup final last month, despite a convincing performance in which they failed to score and conceded two late goals.

Zamalek aim to secure their first league victory against their archrival since August 2020, when they defeated Ahly 3-1.

Complete domination

On the other hand, Ahly seek to maintain their dominance over Zamalek, having won seven out of the last ten games between the two teams in all competitions.

They were held twice before their only defeat in the 2021 Egypt Cup final.

Ahly coach Marcel Koller holds a perfect record against Zamalek, having guided the Red Devils to four wins in all competitions.

However, Koller will face challenges this time, as several key players are unavailable for the Cairo derby.

In addition to long-term absentees such as goalkeeper Mohamed El-Shennawy, defender Yasser Ibrahim, and midfielders Aliou Dieng and Emam Ashour, there are also fresh concerns with winger Hussein El-Shahat, midfielder Marwan Attia, and South African winger Percy Tau.

The presence of Tau and Attia in the Cairo derby depends on Koller's decision, as he may opt to rest them for the Champions League clash.

Ahly's recent performances have not been convincing, with a 4-3 loss against NBE, a 2-2 draw with Enppi, and a narrow 1-0 win against newly-promoted side ZED FC in their last game.

Despite their lackluster form, Ahly's experience in such games makes them capable of securing a victory on Monday.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

 
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