No withdrawal as Kahraba's superb strike maintains Zamalek's winning run

Hatem Maher , Thursday 26 May 2016

Mahmoud Kahraba
Mahmoud Kahraba scored a superb winner as Zamalek defeated ENPPI 1-0 in the Egyptian Premier League on Thursday (Ahram)

Winger Mahmoud Kahraba scored a superb volley as Zamalek, who briefly threatened to withdraw from the Egyptian Premier League, beat ENPPI 1-0 for their seventh consecutive win to keep alive their fading hopes of retaining their title.

The 22-year-old was initially deployed on the wing before playing as a lone striker in the second half following the substitution of Zambian frontman Emmanuel Mayuka, who had a disappointing night.

Kahraba, who has been recently criticised for his profligacy, squandered a golden chance to break the deadlock on the hour mark when he ran onto a deft pass from Mostafa Fathi to go clear before his low shot was blocked by the ENPPI keeper.

However, he atoned for the miss seven minutes later in style, swiveling and volleying home from inside the area following a pinpoint cross from the left to take his tally to 11 league goals, three short of top scorer Hossam Paolo of Smouha.

Zamalek, who have four matches remaining, narrowed the gap with arch rivals and leaders Ahly to five points although the latter have a game in hand.

Thursday's narrow victory over ENPPI, which is also the sixth straight win under interim coach Mohamed Helmi, came a day after Zamalek's controversial chairman Mortada Mansour said the club would withdraw from the league in protest at what he called "disastrous refereeing errors".

Zamalek were particularly incensed after two Arab Contractors players were sent off for dissent in quick succession during a 3-0 defeat by Ahly on Wednesday, saying their Cairo foes were being favoured by referees.

Few chances  

ENPPI had the better of the first half after displaying some free-flowing football, exposing gaps in the middle although Zamalek deployed three holding midfielders, none of which looked resolute.

Talented winger Ahmed Refaat went close for ENPPI midway through the first half with a curling shot that went just wide but otherwise chances were few and far between.

Early in the second half, a cross-cum-shot from Guinean winger Keoulen Lamah almost caught Zamalek keeper Mahmoud Gennesh off-guard but ENPPI then paid for the price for their bold approach, with the White Knights launching dangerous raids following breakaways.

Kahraba missed a sitter but made amends in superb fashion, controlling a left-wing cross from full-back Adel Gomaa with his left foot before turning and hitting a right-foot volley into the corner of the net to maintain Zamalek's slim hopes of overtaking Ahly.

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