Early goal helps Zamalek hand Pyramids first defeat

Ahram Online , Sunday 11 Dec 2022

An early goal from Mostafa Shalabi gave Zamalek a smash-and-grab 1-0 win over Pyramids FC on Sunday as the Emirati-owned club tasted their first Egyptian Premier League defeat this season.

Zamalek v Pyramids
Zamalek players celebrate their goal in a 1-0 win over Pyramids FC on Sunday (Photo: Zamalek s official Twitter account)


Shalabi, who joined Zamalek from Enppi in the close season, opened his account with the Cairo giants as early as the third minute after being helped by a wicked deflection.

Zamalek offered little apart from the goal and Pyramids were unlucky not to level the score on several occasions, with keeper Mohamed Award foiling them with some superb stops in the dying minutes.

The victory saw Zamalek close to within one point of leaders Ahly, who can restore their four-point advantage on top if they maintain their 100 percent start to the season with a win over Ittihad of Alexandria on Monday.

Pyramids, who finished as runners-up behind champions Zamalek last season for their best ever position, dropped to fifth on 11 points from six matches.

Early lead

A deflected Shalabi effort struck the bar but he made amends moments later to give Zamalek a third-minute lead.

A short corner was played into his path on the edge of the area and his low, tame effort took another deflection to wrong-foot the unsighted keeper.

Pyramids then had territorial dominance as Zamalek sat back to protect their slender advantage, relying on breakaways to unsettle their opponents.

They could have equalised on a couple of occasions before the break, with ex-Zamalek winger Mostafa Fathi arrowing a shot just wide when well-positioned to score and a far-post header from left-back Mohamed Hamdi narrowly missing the target following a floated free kick.

It was a similar story in the second half, with Pyramids pushing forward en masse and Zamalek content to tighten up at the back and invite pressure.

Pyramids' South African striker Fagrie Lakay missed the target with a free header early in the second half before Awad came to Zamalek's rescue in the latter stages, tipping over two powerful headers from central defender Ali Gabr.

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