Preview: Portuguese coach Pacheco begins rescue mission in second Zamalek spell

Ahram Online , Saturday 26 Sep 2020

Pacheco will reportedly watch Zamalek face Gouna from the stands as he begins his mission with the Cairo giants on Sunday

File photo of Jaime Pacheco

Portuguese coach Jaime Pacheco will begin a rescue mission when Zamalek play under his watchful eye on Sunday, with the team facing Gouna to maintain second place in the Egyptian Premier League.

Pacheco took charge of Zamalek again on Wednesday, with the club concluding a frantic search for a new boss following the shock departure of Frenchman Patrice Carteron, who rescinded his contract to join Saudi side Al-Taawoun last week.

Reports said Pacheco will watch the Gouna game from the stands before officially leading the team in their next match.

Zamalek turned to another defensive-savvy coach to keep the same strategy that Carteron used to win the Egyptian and African Super Cups and reach the Champions League semi-final.

Back in 2014, Zamalek won nine games out of 12 under Pacheco, drawing twice and losing once before he suddenly quit the club on January 1, 2015 to take over at Saudi side Al-Shabab.

Pacheco's primary target this time will be helping Zamalek end their league campaign as runners-up and delivering their first Champions League title since 2002.

They meet Morocco's Raja Casablanca in a two-legged semifinal next month but they can hardly afford resting their key regulars before then, given their tight competition with Pyramids for the league's second place, which earns qualification to the Champions League.

Zamalek are only one point ahead of third-placed Pyramids with five matches left to play.

Relegation-threatened Gouna, who lie 13th in the table with 31 points, only three clear of the drop zone, usually prove a tough nut to crack.

They famously held Zamalek to a 2-2 draw in July last year to effectively end their hopes of winning the league title, which Ahly eventually claimed after bridging a seven-point gap with their perennial Cairo rivals.

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