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Wednesday, 04 August 2021

Preview: Leaders Zamalek can't afford more slip-ups in Egyptian league

Zamalek are leading the table with 55 points, 14 clear of defending champions and perennial arch rivals Ahly, who have six games in hand

Ahram Online , Wednesday 16 Jun 2021
Zamalek v Aswan
File photo of an Egyptian Premier League game between Zamalek and Aswan (Ahram)
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Zamalek return to Egyptian Premier League action after more than two weeks off on Thursday, bearing in mind that they can't afford any more slip-ups so as not to give Ahly the chance to open up a big lead on top.

The White Knights meet struggling Aswan in Cairo, having been held to a 0-0 draw by Gouna in their previous league game on 30 May following three straight wins.

Zamalek are leading the table with 55 points, 14 clear of defending champions and perennial arch rivals Ahly, who had six games postponed due to their African Champions League commitments.

Should Ahly win their rescheduled matches, they will pull four points clear of Zamalek, meaning that the latter do not have the luxury of dropping more points as they aim to keep their hopes alive.

"It is so difficult to speak about our chances to win the domestic league as our fate depends on the results of Ahly in their postponed games," Zamalek's French coach Patrice Carteron said.

Carteron has some selection problems, not least the absence of Tunisian midfield linchpin Ferjani Sassi, who has yet to agree a new deal after his contract had expired amid reports linking him with a move to Qatar.

It's also not yet clear if in-form Moroccan winger Achraf Bencharki, the league's leading scorer with 12 goals, would play against Aswan, given that he only returned from international duty on Wednesday night.

Aswan are unlikely to be pushovers even though they languish fourth from bottom with 24 points, five clear of the relegation zone.

The southern Egyptian club held Zamalek to a goalless draw in the reverse league fixture in January.

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

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