Wasteful Zamalek held by resilient Shorta in Egyptian league

Omar Zaazou , Thursday 25 Sep 2014

Zamalek stumble against a steadfast Ittihad El-Shorta to drop their first points of their Egyptian Premier League campaign

El Zamalek
(Photo: Al-Ahram)

Zamalek could not overcome a resolute Ittihad El-Shorta side to play out a goalless draw in the Egyptian Premier League at Arab Contractors Stadium on Thursday.

Playing with an unfamiliar away blue kit, Zamalek failed to build on their emphatic 6-1 victory over Talae El-Geish last week, to spill their first points of the season despite squandering a host of clear-cut chances.

The White Knights, who still have a game in hand, now lie eighth of the league table, level on four points with Shorta, who have an inferior goal difference.

Wasteful Zamalek

Zamalek, starting with the same line up from the win over Gaish, could have opened the scoring as early as the second minute through forward Khaled kamar, deployed in an inside-left role, who saw a header flow wide.

The Egypt striker then tried his luck from distance four minutes later, but saw his effort miss the target.  

As Ittihad El-Shorta looked to close down spaces inside their own half with two banks of four, Zamalek had to see their two wide forwards drop deep to overload the midfield in an attempt to find a breakthrough.

Still unable to carve out chances from a team move, Kamar was the ambitious man again – striking from outside the box - only to be denied by the keeper on 15 minutes.

It wasn't until the 19th minute when full back Hazem Emam started to rely on his pace down the right, and sent a dangerous low cross – following a great link-up play with Moemen Zakareya – but Abdoulaye Cisse spurned the chance.  

Emam proved to be the main outlet inside the half, setting up Kamar who missed again on 26 minutes.

A reactive Shorta then saw nearly 10-minute spell of dominance, with their first chance coming three minutes later when an unopposed Khaled El-Ghandour struck from outside the area but the shot flew wide.  

Keeper Ahmed El-Shennawy then played a crucial role in keeping a clean sheet when he timely rushed out to thwart a through-on-goal Mohamed Basiouny on 34 minutes before denying Salah Rico three mintues later.

An unmarked Zakareya, however, could have given his side a first-half lead when he headed over a cross by Hefny, who sometimes exchanged positions with Kamar, from the right after being brilliantly released into space by Salah.  

Zamalek decline, Ittihad hold on

Five minutes after the break, Hefny managed to threaten the opponents' goal with a right-footed strike from the edge of the box following a good back-heel from Kamar.

Zamalek boss Hossam Hassan then opted to field his new-signing midfielder Tarek Hamed, who came on for the cautioned Maarouf Youssef.

The Cairo giants' performance notably declined in the second half, failing to mount serious threat till the 74th minute when another debutant in Bassem Morsi - who replaced Cisse - was superbly played in by Kamar to break clear but his low shot bounced off the post.

As time was running out with the Whites still unable to break the deadlock, manager Hassan threw in his last card as he substituted Zakareya with the lively Mostafa Fathi.

Zamalek continued dictating play, with their main source of attacks coming from the right – further overloaded by Fathi - resulting in a dangerous chance for striker Morsi who failed to connect with the goal at his mercy, as the match ended in a goalless draw.  

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