Preview: Zamalek likely to welcome back key players for Ittihad test

Ahram Online , Sunday 9 Aug 2020

Soccer Football - Egyptian Premier League - Zamalek v Al Masry - Borg El Arab Stadium, Alexandria, Egypt - August 6, 2020 Zamalek's Mahmoud Alaa celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates REUTERS

Zamalek are likely to welcome back some of the influential players who missed the 1-0 win over Masry last week as they meet Ittihad of Alexandria in the Egyptian Premier League on Monday.

The White Knights, whose priority is finishing second and earning an African Champions League spot, laboured to a narrow victory over Masry after struggling without the likes of midfield linchpin Tarek Hamed and deep-lying forward Youssef Ibrahim.

Both have returned to training ahead of the Ittihad game, having recovered from minor complaints. Key Moroccan duo Achraf Bencharki and Mohamed Ounajem are also back but, given that they are still short of match fitness, it's not clear if they will take part against Ittihad. 

Despite the below-par display against Ittihad, French coach Patrice Carteron said he is happy his side had taken another step towards their target of finishing second, saying the players will regain their top form soon. 

Ittihad will have to do without a number of regulars, especially in midfield. Coach Talaat Youssef is likely to depend on some youngsters to cover for the long list of absentees, which includes nine players.

"The game will be very tough against a big team like Zamalek because of the absences," Ittihad assistant coach Mohamed Ibrahim told reporters on Sunday.

"But we have no option but to deal with our critical situation.''

Zamalek are second in the league table with 34 points, while Ittihad of Alexandria lie fifth with 27 points.

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