Five talking points from this week's Egyptian League: Embarrassment for Zamalek, Mido under pressure

Ahram Online , Saturday 21 Oct 2017

Ahram Online presents highlights from the sixth matchday of the Egyptian Premier League

Ahmed Hossam Mido Wadi Degla Coach (Photo: Wadi Degla Official Facebook Page)

Managerial casualty

Moemen Soliman became the latest managerial casualty after Maqassa’s disastrous start to the new season.

Maqassa were the surprise of last season, finishing runners-up behind champions Ahly after a remarkable campaign under Ihab Galal, who left in the summer after complaining of a lack of support from the club’s board.

Galal’s successor, Soliman, failed to keep the momentum going, with Maqassa collecting one point from five matches to sit second from bottom.

Soliman said his side were unlucky in front of goal, but were also sorely affected by the departure of some key players in the summer, including playmaker Ahmed El-Sheikh and central midfielder Hesham Mohamed who both joined Ahly.

The rookie boss handed in his resignation after Maqassa lost 2-1 to Enppi who played their first match under Galal, the architect of Maqassa’s impressive league campaign last season.

Maqassa are still looking for a replacement before they begin their maiden African Champions League campaign.

Mido extends winless run to four matches

Former Egypt striker Mido, who had extensive experience in European football as a player, is still struggling to find his feet as manager of Wadi Degla in the Egyptian Premier League.

Wadi Degla surrendered a two-goal lead to play out a 2-2 draw with Petrojet and remain fourth from bottom in the 18-team table with only five points from six matches.

Mohamed Sherif put Degla in front as early as the eighth minute and Issouf Ouattara doubled the lead 10 minutes after the restart, but Petrojet roared back with late goals from Mohamed Dabash and Mohamed Ragab to secure a share of the spoils.

Degla have only won one of their opening six matches of the season, drawing twice and losing three games.

Pressure is increasing on Mido, who says he is building a young team for the future although reports suggest he could be the League’s next managerial casualty.

Ittihad’s Hany Ramzy admits mistakes

The future of Ittihad coach Hany Ramzy, a prominent Egypt defender in the 1990s and early 2000s, is also under scrutiny after a 1-1 draw with El-Entag El-Harby.

Ramzy, who was criticised for failing to tighten his defence in a 2-0 defeat to defending champions Ahly last week, was even lucky to escape with a draw after El-Entag squandered several clear-cut chances.

He admitted that he was to blame for the draw, saying he was mistaken to deploy a 4-4-2 formation which his players were not familiar with.

Ittihad, who lost three times and drew once in their first six matches, sit 10th in the table on seven points.  

Colombian excellence

Ismaily continued their impressive start to the season after claiming a 2-1 win over Dakhleya, with Colombian striker Diego Calderon in inspiring form.

Skipper Hosni Abd-Rabou put Ismaily in front from the penalty spot after 10 minutes, but Mohamed Zika brought Dakhleya level in the 24th minute.

However, Calderon rose above his marker at the far post to head home a precious winner on the stroke of halftime as the Dervishes moved temporarily top with 13 points, having won four and drawn once in their opening five games.

The 27-year-old took his tally to four goals, just one behind leading scorer Omar El-Said of El-Entag El-Harby.

Zamalek embarrassment

Zamalek’s poor run continued with an embarrassing 3-0 defeat by Smouha as they extended their winless run to three matches, having drawn the previous two matches against Enppi and Smouha.

Montenegrin coach Nebojsa Jovovic has yet to settle on his ideal starting line-up, tweaking his formation once again as the players struggled for harmony.

Jovovic’s overly adventurous approach was also exposed by a vibrant Smouha side, whose slick counter-attacking game made Zamalek pay for their defensive frailties.

Having wasted a host of goal-scoring chances, Zamalek fell behind when Hamdi Zaki scored against the run of play on the stroke of halftime, catching out the poorly-positioned keeper with a superb volley.

Mahmoud Abdel-Aziz and Patrick Malo finished off two breakaways in the second half to give Smouha a stunning win, leaving Zamalek’s controversial chairman Mortada Mansour to once again blame “sorcery and magic powers” for his side’s poor start to the season.

Zamalek, who cannot afford to lose more ground should they mount a title challenge, fell to sixth in the table with nine points from six games, four behind leaders Ismaily who have a game in hand.

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