Egypt's Zamalek have no option but to grab their first group-stage win when they face Petro Atletico in Luanda on Sunday if they are to keep alive their slim hopes of reaching the African Confederation Cup knockout phase.
Still winless after three matches in the group, Zamalek's hopes were further dented when they could only draw 1-1 at home to Atletico last month after scoring a stoppage-time equaliser.
They have largely stuttered in Africa's secondary club competition despite their impressive run in the Egyptian Premier League, collecting only two points from home draws with NA Hussein Dey and Atletico and an away loss to Kenya's Gor Mahia.
Zamalek are four points adrift of leaders Gor Mahia and two behind Atletico and NA Hussein Dey.
"We will fight to grab our first win in the group and bounce back in the competition to book one of the two qualifying spots. It is our last chance against Petro Atletico," Zamalek coach Christian Gross told the pre-match news conference.
Zamalek will have to do without three of their key players in the do-or-die clash.
In-form winger Mahmoud Kahraba, who is suspended by the club for disciplinary reasons, midfield linchpin Tarek Hamed, who is serving an automatic ban and injured central defender Mahmoud Alaa will not be available.
"Petro Atletico are a very good team with good and pacy attackers. We have some crucial absences but I trust the entire squad due to the quality of the players and their determination to win," Gross added.
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