File photo of Ahly winger Moemen Zakareya (Photo: Ahram)
Ahly will be looking to return to winning ways when they face newly-promoted side Tanta in the Egyptian League at Mahalla Stadium on Friday after dropping points against Petrojet and Alexandria's Ittihad, while Zamalek will be hoping to overcome their injury woes against Hossam Hassan's Masry.
Defending champions Ahly signaled their intent to retain their favored title with five wins out of five in their new league campaign before drawing with Petrojet 0-0 and Ittihad 2-2.
As a result, Ahly surrendered top spot to Maqassa, who are now one point ahead with 18 points, and will now be determined to get back to winning ways at third-from-bottom Tanta.
They will be boosted by the return from injury of holding midfielder Hossam Ashour after missing the Ittihad draw due to a rib complaint.
Center-back Rami Rabia, meanwhile, continues to miss out having yet to recover from a long-standing knee injury – with veteran striker Emad Meteb also omitted due to an ear infection.
Defense duo Sabri Rahil and Mohamed Naguib also made the squad, while winger Karim 'Nedved', striker Marwan Mohsen and full-back pair Hussein El-Sayed and Bassem Ali were left out.
Zamalek face off with Hassan's Masry
Zamalek, on the other hand, will be hoping to overcome Hossam Hassan's Masry at Alexandria's Borg El-Arab Stadium later on the day.
Following a goalless draw with then second-placed Smouha, a stalemate that followed Zamalek's Champions League final defeat to Mamelodi Sundowns, Moemen Soliman's men were able to bounce back with a 2-1 victory over ENPPI last week.
Soliman, who came under intense criticism following his side's dismal displays ahead of the ENPPI clash, will be looking to claim all three points to relieve the pressure on him before the international break.
The 42-year-old manager, however, will have to do without a host of integral squad members, with anchorman Tarek Hamed – who scored against ENPPI – and playmaker Ayman Hefni ruled out due to ankle and calf injuries respectively.
First-choice keeper Ahmed El-Shennawi – who has lost his place recently to Mahmoud 'Gennesh' - has been also left out due to a shoulder problem, with Mostafa Fathi also omitted due to a knee injury.
Nigerian striker Stanley Ohawuchi will continue to miss out due to a hamstring problem that kept him out of the ENPPI win, while defender Ali Gabr and midfielder Ahmed Tawfik returned to the squad.
Zamalek are currently in 12th spot on seven points but have four games in hand, while Masry are sixth with 12.
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