Zamalek goal-scorer Shikabala celebrating his goal (Photo: Ahram)
An unimpressive Zamalek side could only claim a 1-0 Egyptian league home win against a 10-man Tanta at Cairo's Petrosport Stadium, thanks to a first-half penalty from Shikabala.
Starting the game with numerous changes in the team's defense and midfield, Zamalek needed a 35th-minute penalty from their captain to secure all three points against the league newcomers.
The visitors had striker Mohamed Gouda sent off in the 58th minute as they played the remainder of the match with a numerical disadvantage, with Zamalek failing to capitalize.
The victory took Zamalek, who still have four games in hand, to sixth place on 13 points. Lowly Tanta, meanwhile, are bottom of the table with four.
Zamalek's first chance arrived after 15 minutes when Shikabala's free kick was parried by keeper Islam Tarek in the 15th minute, before Tanta's Ghanaian forward Joseph Ato-Bissah tested Ahmed El-Shennawi three minutes later.
With Tanta sitting back in an attempt to deny Zamalek space, midfielder Mahmoud 'Dunga' could have assisted the opener with a brilliant through ball for the running-in-behind right-back Hosni Fathi – who was eventually thwarted by the keeper.
But it was just a few minutes later when dazzling playmaker Ayman Hefni was fouled inside the area, with the referee pointing instantly to the spot.
Shikabala made no mistake with an exquisitely-executed penalty kick to give his side the lead in what proved to be the winner afterwards.
Despite not giving the Whites a stern challenge, keeper El-Shennawi was called into a superb save when he blocked Mahmoud Shaker's point-blank range header on the stroke of half-time as Zamalek kept a clean sheet.
The league newcomers looked energetic after the break and where able to hold onto the ball for quite some time with Zamalek's midfield unable to retrieve the ball.
The Egypt Cup holders, who featured Ahmed Dwidar and Shawki El-Said at the back, should have scored more goals following the dismissal of Gouda, but failed completely to exploit the gaps behind their opponents' midfield due to lack of fruitful combination play.
The only chances of note came in the 72nd minute when a Dunga strike from outside the area narrowly missed the target, before Tanta's Mohamed Magdi threatened with a powerful shot just two minutes from time.
Zamalek continued to push forward in an attempt to ensure their win, albeit with no real chances created.
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