Zamalek stroll to easy 3-0 league win to give coach Helmi winning start

Hatem Maher , Saturday 3 Dec 2016

Mahmoud Shikabala
File photo of winger Mahmoud Shikabala, who scored Zamalek's opening goal in the 3-0 win over Dakhleya on Saturday (Ahram)

Zamalek, playing under a third coach this season, gave Mohamed Helmi a winning start by crushing Dakhleya 3-0 in a one-sided Egyptian Premier League game on Saturday.

Shikabala, Zamalek's top scorer so far this term, took his tally to three league goals to give them a first-half lead before summer arrival Ahmed Refaat netted his maiden goal and substitute striker Bassem Morsi converted a penalty after the break.

The White Knights were also boosted in the second half by the introduction of playmaker Mohamed Ibrahim, who made his first appearance since suffering a horrific foot injury last July.

The only downside though was an injury Nigerian forward Stanley Ohawuchi picked up on the stroke of halftime.

Helmi took charge of the team after Mohamed Salah was dismissed following last week's 1-1 draw with Wadi Degla, with Zamalek collecting just five points from three matches under the latter.

Zamalek enjoyed a fine run under Helmi last season, embarking on a 10-match unbeaten streak that ended with two losses to South Africa's Mamelodi Sundowns in the African Champions.    

Zamalek, who started the season under novice coach Moemen Soliman, are sixth in the table on 21 points, 11 behind leaders Ahly but with three games in hand over their arch rivals. Dakhleya are 14th in the 18-team table on nine points.

Shikabala floated two free kicks that could have resulted in an opening goal, with defender Ali Gabr heading against the post and Stanley Ohawuchi having another close-range header thwarted by the keeper.

He then scored himself to give Zamalek a deserved lead on 26 minutes, controlling a pass from Stanley with his back to goal before swiveling and beating the keeper with a low shot at the near post despite being under pressure from his marker.

Zamalek faced little resistance from Dakhleya in the second half, scoring two quick-fire goals to put the result beyond doubt.

A Dakhleya defender chested a cross into the path of the unmarked Refaat who fired low into the back of the net in the 65th minute before Morsi converted a penalty he won four minutes later to end the match as a contest.

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