Preview: Zamalek seek to bounce back from disappointing defeat

Ahram Online , Wednesday 4 Jan 2023

Zamalek will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing Egyptian Premier League defeat when they host lowly Dakhleya at Cairo's International Stadium on Thursday.

Zamalek v Aswan
Zamalek suffered a 2-1 defeat by Aswan in their previous Egyptian Premier League game

The White Knights suffered a surprise 2-1 loss to Aswan on Monday, their first this season, which allowed Ahly to move three points clear of them on top of the table with a 3-0 win over Pyramids FC later in the day.

The poor display against Aswan prompted many of Zamalek's supporters to call for reinforcements in January.

Zamalek's foreign players came in for fierce criticism, with none able prove their worth. Moroccan midfielder Zakaria El Wardi was released last month, just a few months after joining, while Beninese striker Samson Akinyoola failed to make an impact in a few substitute appearances.

Senegalese winger Ibrahima Ndiaye has been out for more than two months with an injury while Tunisian striker Seifeddine Jaziri has so far failed to replicate the form that saw him play a key role in Zamalek's triumphant league campaign last season.

Zamalek's outspoken chairman Mortada Mansour insisted there was no need for new signings, saying the summer arrivals need time to prove themselves.

The Cairo giants also looked vulnerable in set-pieces in recent games, with Aswan scoring from two corners. The absence of central defender Mahmoud El-Wensh, an Egyptian international who is nursing a serious knee injury, is taking its toll on the backline.

Zamalek coach Jesualdo Ferreira might revert to a traditional 3-4-3 formation to offer more protection to a porous defence when the team meet Dakhleya, who lie third from bottom in the table with eight points from 11 matches.

Key winger Youssef Nabih is missing for Zamalek due to a facial problem. Veteran schemer Mahmoud Shikabala was also left out of their squad but winger Mostafa Shalabi is back from injury. 

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