Shikabala inspires Zamalek fightback against NBE Club to claim first league win

Ahram Online , Saturday 7 Oct 2023

Veteran forward Mahmoud "Shikabala" Abdel-Razek scored a late winner to lead Zamalek to their first league win of the season after claiming a 2-1 comeback victory over NBE Club at Cairo International Stadium on Saturday.

Zamalek forward Mahmoud Shikabala in action against NBE Club. Photo: Zamalek facebook account


NBE Club took the lead five minutes into stoppage time when Karim Bambo converted a short free kick from Ahmed Madbouly into Zamalek's net. However, Zamalek's star winger, Ahmed "Zizo" Sayed, equalized with a stunning long-range strike just nine minutes into the second half. Then, in the 90th minute of the game, Shikabala secured the winning goal for his team.

Both teams ended the game with only 10 men on the pitch as Zamalek keeper Mohamed Awaad and Mohamed Fathy received their marching orders.

The victory is Zamalek's first this campaign in three games as they are now fifth with 5 points behind leaders Modern Future who have a perfect 9. NBE Club remains at the bottom without any points earned so far.

Zamalek aimed to control the game from the beginning but struggled to find the back of the net, while NBE Club relied on their solid defense and dangerous counterattacks.

The White Knights' first scoring opportunity came in the 7th minute when Zizo's shot, following a cross from Mostafa Shalby, narrowly missed the target. Omar Gaber's attempt was also denied a brilliant save from international keeper Mohamed Abou Gabal.

Zamalek were dealt a major blow when goalkeeper Awaad, who had been impressive in the first half, was sent off in the first minute of stoppage time for obstructing NBE Club's forward, Karim Bambo, who was clear on target.

Second-choice goalkeeper Mohamed Sobhi, brought on as a substitute for striker Seifeddine Jaziri, was unable to block Bambo's close-range shot after a well executed free kick.

Two goals and a red card

Zamalek's coach, Juan Osorio, made key defensive substitutions by introducing Mostafa El Zenary and Hamza Mathlouthi, who successfully bolstered their backline and halted NBE Club's quick counterattacks.

The White Knights took control of the game and pressed their opponents despite having inferior number on the pitch.

In the 54th minute, Zenary set-up Zizo on the edge of the area whose first time shot went into the top of the net. 

Zamalek maintained their pressure and in the 90th minute Shikabala, who came off the bench in the 67th minute, sealed the victory with an unstoppable left-footed shot from outside the box.


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