Preview: Zamalek's tactics under Carteron come under fire after another stumble

Ahram Online , Wednesday 5 May 2021

Zamalek v Pyramids
Zamalek snatched a late 1-1 draw against Pyramids in their previous Egyptian Premier League game (Photo: Zamalek's official website)

Zamalek's approach to key games has been heavily criticised as the leaders meet Alexandria-based club Smouha in another tough Egyptian Premier League game on Thursday.

The White Knights were held to two draws by Arab Contractors and Pyramids FC in their previous two matches, having produced a poor first-half show on both occasions.

It was a similar story when they lost 2-1 to arch rivals Ahly in the Cairo derby last month, with fans questioning the tactics of French boss Patrice Carteron.

Zamalek's over-reliance on defence in first halves usually costs them and when they push forward in search of an equaliser, it always comes too late.

After falling behind against Pyramids following a first half to forget, Zamalek came on with all guns blazing in the second, laying siege to their opponents' area and wasting a slew of goal-scoring chances.

They eventually converted a stoppage-time penalty to snatch the equaliser but a draw fell short of the expectations of their fans, who do not fathom Zamalek's defensive approach despite an embarrassment of attacking riches.

"Why should we always react, not act? We are more than capable of putting our opponents to the sword from the early stages. Carteron needlessly defend and defend and defend!" said one Zamalek fan on Twitter.

Zamalek will need to be at their best against a vibrant Smouha side that boast fine attacking talents.

Smouha became the first team to beat Ahly this season when they earned a dramatic last-gasp 2-1 victory last month, having proven devastating on breakaways. Their on-loan winger Mostafa Fathi, who forms a potent frontline with the likes of striker Hossam Hassan and forward Ahmed Abdel-Kader, will come up against parent club Zamalek.

Zamalek top the table with 41 points from 19 matches, four clear of second-placed Ahly, who have two games in hand. Smouha are sixth on 28 points.

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