Preview: Carteron feeling the heat as Zamalek meet Sagrada Esperanca in CL

Ahram Online , Friday 18 Feb 2022

The days of French coach Patrice Carteron might be numbered as Zamalek seek to return to winning ways away to Angola's Sagrada Esperanca in the African Champions League on Saturday.

Zamalek v Petro Atletico
Zamalek came from behind to salvage a late 2-2 draw at home to Petro Atletico in their opening Champions League group-stage clash last weekend (Photo: the club s official Facebook page)

The Cairo giants had to come from two goals down to salvage a last-gasp 2-2 home draw against fellow Angolan side Petro Atletico in their opening Group D game last weekend, with their defensive frailties badly exposed on breakaways.

Carteron also came under fire for resting several key regulars in an Egyptian Premier League game against Smouha on Tuesday, which defending champions Zamalek lost 2-0 to lose ground in the title race.

Outspoken chairman Mortada Mansour, fresh from winning a new four-year term as Zamalek's head, heavily criticised Carteron but said the club would stick with him for now.

However, with no love lost between both men, given Carteron's acrimonious exit during his previous spell at the helm in late 2020, the 51-year-old is unlikely to be given much time to steady the ship.

"I'm calling on the fans to stand by the team in the upcoming period. They should know that the board of directors always takes decisions in the best timing," Mansour said, without elaborating further.

Zamalek are struggling to fill in for midfield linchpin Tarek Hamed, who is still nursing an injury. In his absence, the team find it difficult to deal with any counter attacks.

With the club banned from making new signings, any absences leave them short of options.

Sagrada Esperanca kicked off their group-stage campaign with a 3-0 loss to Morocco's Wydad Casablanca, who top the group.

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