Zamalek coach Patrice Carteron has some regrets over last month's 2-1 loss to Ahly as his team meet their arch rivals again in the Cairo derby on Monday, with everything to play for in the Egyptian Premier League.
Both sides have been inconsistent lately, dropping points against modest opponents. Zamalek lead Ahly by four points on top of the league table but the latter still have two games in hand.
When they met in the first derby of the season last month, Zamalek were largely outplayed in the first half to concede two goals from Mohamed Sherif either side of a stunning strike from their veteran winger Mahmoud Shikabala.
Zamalek piled on pressure in the second but could not find an equaliser, prompting their angry fans to question the tactics of Carteron. Many believe the Frenchman needlessly adopts cautious strategies even though his side have an embarrassment of riches upfront.
Carteron, who also managed Ahly, believes his side deserved more from that game, which came a few months after Zamalek suffered a heartbreaking 2-1 defeat by their perennial rivals in the African Champions League final, which was dubbed the "Derby of the Century".
"The only downside to my first few months in charge was the loss against Ahly," the 50-year-old told Zamalek's official website in an interview on Sunday.
"We shouldn't lose such games; I regret it. We were capable of getting at least a draw. We didn't deserve to lose."
Although there are still plenty of games remaining in the premier domestic competition, Carteron believes Monday's derby could go some way towards determining the champion.
"On paper, there are still many matches left. However, tomorrow's result will have a big role in settling competition for the title. Whoever wins will get a big boost of morale," he added.
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