Preview: Eliminated Zamalek out to spare some blushes in Champions League

Ahram Online , Friday 18 Mar 2022

Already-eliminated Zamalek will be looking to restore some of their pride when they meet Angola's Petro Atletico away in their penultimate group-stage game of the African Champions League on Saturday.

Zamalek v Petro Atletico
Zamalek earned a last-gasp 2-2 draw at home to Angola s Petro Atletico in their opening group-stage game of the African Champions League last month (Ahram)

Another poor campaign saw Zamalek, who reached the final in 2020, wave goodbye to the Champions League at the group stage for the second straight season after collecting just two points from four games.

Jesualdo Ferreira's first match back in charge of the team he led to a rare domestic double in 2015 ended in agony as Zamalek slumped to a 1-0 defeat at home to Morocco's Wydad last week, which ended their slim hopes of booking a last-eight berth.

Saturday's encounter is a mere dead-rubber, although Petro Atletico, who top Group D with 10 points, would be looking for a win to finish at the summit, with Wydad lurking in second on nine points.

"We are not her to increase the point tally of our opponents. We have clear targets, which are to win the domestic league and cup. The beginning will be tomorrow to get our team back on track," Portuguese coach Ferreira told the pre-match news conference.

"Tomorrow, we will project a different image of Zamalek … we will face a strong opponent with a big character."

Zamalek's opening group game at home to Petro Atletico ended in an exciting 2-2 draw after the White Knights came from two goals down last month. 

Ferreira included the likes of keeper Mohamed Abou-Gabal, Moroccan winger Achraf Bencharki and defensive midfielder Tarek Hamed in Zamalek's squad, even though the club said they had ended their talks with the key trio to extend their deals.

With the three men reluctant to pen new contracts, Zamalek said they had run out of patience. They will now be free to leave in the summer.

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