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Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Preview: Zamalek need to avoid late lapses in fight to finish second

Zamalek meet El-Entag El-Harby on Sunday, a few days after they conceded a late goal in a thrilling 3-3 draw with Smouha

Ahram Online , Saturday 12 Sep 2020
Zamalek v Smouha
Zamalek were held to a 3-3 draw by Smouha in their previous game (Photo: the club's official Facebook page)

Zamalek will need to avoid the kind of late lapses that have cost them in two games if they are to hold onto the Egyptian Premier League's second position, which earns a spot in the African Champions League next season.

The Cairo giants meet El-Entag El-Harby on Sunday, a few days after conceding a late goal in a thrilling 3-3 draw with Alexandria-based club Smouha that ended their three-match winning run.

Last month, they also leaked a last-gasp goal to draw 1-1 against Ittihad in a match they completely dominated.

The late goals will raise questions over Zamalek's ability to maintain their leads, with fans pointing at possible complacency for the stumbles.

Zamalek players are particularly criticised for trying to display an entertaining brand of football without the efficiency needed to kill off their opponents. Against Smouha, a daring and needless through pass from deep-lying forward Youssef Ibrahim was intercepted and Zamalek were duly punished when the ball ended in their own net.

Their previous draw prevented them from taking full advantage of Pyramids' defeat by Gouna as the race for second spot intensifies, with Arab Contractors leapfrogging the big-spending Pyramids.

Zamalek are second on 49 points, two ahead of Contractors and four clear of Pyramids with eight matches remaining.

The White Knights will still have to do without a host of regulars when they meet El-Entag, including influential Moroccan winger Achraf Bencharki, right-back Hazem Emam and versatile midfielder Ahmed Zizo.

Should Zamlek lose to El-Entag, runaway leaders Ahly will be crowned champions without kicking a ball.

El-Entag, who lie ninth in the table, have had a stuttering form of late, losing three of their previous five matches.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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