Zamalek held to second straight 0-0 draw in Egyptian league

Ahram Online , Wednesday 3 May 2017

Zamalek 0-0 Ismaily
Zamalek striker Bassem Morsi reacts after missing a goal-scoring chance in Wednesday's 0-0 draw with Ismaily in the Egyptian Premier League (Reuters)

Zamalek once again lacked spark in the final third, settling for a second straight 0-0 draw after failing to break down Ismaily in the Egyptian Premier League on Wednesday.

Chances were at a premium in a dour match as Zamalek drew for the second time in five matches under new coach Augusto Inacio.

Zamalek remain third in the table with 48 points, four ahead of Alexandria-based club Smouha who have a game in hand.

Fifth-placed Masry have 43 points with two matches in hand on Zamalek as the race for the third spot which qualifies for the African Confederation Cup heats up.

Ismaily, who won the last of their three league titles in 2002, are seventh with 37 points.

Both sides were unlucky to lose players to injuries, with Ismaily making two unscripted substitutions in the first half after skipper Hosni Abd-Rabou and defender Mohamed Hashem were hurt and Zamalek replacing right-back Hosni Fathi and Nigerian midfielder Maarouf Yussuf after the interval.

For all their territorial dominance, Zamalek were bereft of ideas and attacking threat in a first-half display that resembled their poor show in the previous 0-0 draw with Tanta.

Their only chance fell to winger Mostafa Fathi, who somehow skied his effort high over with the goal at his mercy after being picked out unmarked at the far post by a pinpoint cross from left-back Mohamed Nassef  four minutes before the break.

Zamalek remained in control of possession in the second period but could only create one goal-scoring chance which striker Bassem Morsi spurned on the hour mark.

Ahmed Refaat whipped in a diagonal cross which Morsi headed just wide from close range in the only highlight of a dull second half, with Ismaily holding on to secure a share of spoils.

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