Zamalek coach Patrice Carteron (Photo: Reuters)
Zamalek coach Patrice Carteron said his side had paid the price for their poor start in the Cairo derby as they lost 2-1 to arch rivals Ahly in the Egyptian Premier League on Sunday.
The White Knights were outplayed in the first half as they were undone by two goals from Ahly's forward Mohamed Sherif, which came either side of a superb curling strike from Mahmoud Shikabala.
Zamalek poured forward en masse in the second half, pinning Ahly in their own half, but they could not find an equaliser after wasting a penalty.
"The better side lost the game," Carteron told the post-match news conference.
"We committed two big mistakes in the first half and we were punished for that. We paid for our poor start to the match."
The Frenchman said that Zamalek had a chance to return the game when they were awarded a second-half penalty, which central defender Mahmoud Alaa wasted.
"We played well in the second half and the result could have been better had Alaa converted the penalty."
Carteron asked his players to put the derby loss behind them as they seek to challenge for the league title, which they have not won since 2015.
Zamalek are still on top of the table with 33 points but Ahly will go six points clear on top if they win their three games in hand.
"The players are very frustrated but we have to forget the loss and to look to the future," Carteron added.