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Friday, 18 June 2021

Preview: Zamalek still seeking solutions to lack of cutting edge

Zamalek will be looking to improve their attacking efficiency when they meet Ismaily in the Egyptian Premier League on Wednesday

Ahram Online , Wednesday 17 Feb 2021
File photo of an Egyptian Premier League game between Zamalek and Ismaily in the 2019/20 season (Al-Ahram)

Zamalek coach Jaime Pacheco has his work cut out as he seeks to improve the team's efficiency in the final third to avoid needless slumps in their pursuit of the Egyptian Premier League title.

The White Knights kicked off their African Champions League group-stage campaign with a disappointing 0-0 draw at home to MC Alger on Friday despite creating plenty of openings.

Zamalek's total domination counted for little as they failed to find a decisive winner, with several players guilty of spurning easy chances.

They return to domestic action against struggling Ismaily on Wednesday as they aim to keep up pressure on second-placed Ahly, who will overtake Zamalek on top with a one-point lead should they win their two matches in hand, which were rescheduled because of their participation in the Club World Cup.

Zamalek are struggling to convert their chances in part because of a lack of a reliable out-and-out striker following the departure of marksman Mostafa Mohamed, who joined Turkish giants Galatasaray on loan last month.

Mohamed reminded Zamalek of what they are missing by scoring four goals in his first four appearances with Galatasaray.

New recruit Seifeddine Jaziri had a hand in Zamalek's two goals in their 2-0 victory over Ittihad in their previous league game but he is cup-tied in the Champions League. Fellow new signing Marwan Hamdi, on the other hand, has struggled to make an impact in two appearances following his January arrival.

Pacheco will now have to decide whether to rely on Tunisian Jaziri as his lone frontman in domestic competitions. However, in this case, he would have a problem finding an alternative in the Champions League.

"Things will get better in terms of our finishing. We will work on making the most of the chances we create," the Portuguese said following the draw with MC Alger.

Ismaily have made a disastrous start to the season as they managed to only collect eight points from 11 matches. A victory over Zamalek would be vital for the three-time Egyptian champions as they aim to allay fears of an unthinkable relegation to the second division.

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

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