The aftermath of Patrice Carteron's departure as Zamalek coach couldn't have been felt more clearly, with the injury-hit side suffering a shock 1-0 loss to Aswan on Friday to lose ground in their bid to finish second in the Egyptian Premier League.
Ibrahim Galal's goal on the stroke of halftime handed runaway leaders Ahly the league title with six rounds to spare and punished Zamalek for a woeful display, a few days after Frenchman Carteron unilaterally terminated his contract to take charge of Saudi side Al-Taawoun.
It also marked Aswan's first-ever victory over the illustrious Cairo giants.
Zamalek's coach Tarek Yehia found himself with little options after injuries had ravaged the team, with nine regulars missing the game.
He introduced three youngsters in the starting line-up and they struggled to make their presence felt, with a confident Aswan side moving the ball around smoothly.
Aswan missed a gilt-edged chance in the first minute but made amends just before halftime, Galal sneaking between two markers to control a neat long ball, hold off Mahmoud Hamdi and send a looping header over the keeper and into the net.
Zamalek poured forward en masse in the second half, going close with shots from midfielder Emam Ashour and a header from their top scorer Mostafa Mohamed that went just wide.
But a draw was not meant to be as Zamalek remained second in the table with 52 points, giving Pyramids and Arab Contractors the chance to move to within one point of them if they win their respective matches.
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