In-form playmaker Mohamed Ibrahim set up both goals as Zamalek opened their Egyptian Premier League campaign with an easy 2-0 victory over Ittihad of Alexandria on Saturday.
Versatile midfielder Omar Gaber ended Ittihad’s resistance in the 74th minute and an own goal by Ittihad’s Mohamed Reda shortly after sealed Zamalek’s victory.
The Success-starved side had to do without Brazilian coach Jorvan Vieira, who had not returned to Cairo from the UAE where Zamalek were holding a training camp amid reports suggesting he would depart.
Assistant coach Osama Nabih stood in for him during Saturday’s game, which was held behind closed doors at the military-owned Air Defence Stadium in Cairo, which also hosted the league’s opener between Ahly and Ghazl El-Mahalla earlier in the day.
Ahly are playing in Group A while Zamalek were drawn in Group B as the league’s format was changed due to shortage of time.
The league finally went ahead after a one-year stoppage in the wake of last year’s Port Said disaster, which left over 70 Ahly fans dead following the end of an ill-tempered match against Masry.
Zamalek laid siege to Ittihad’s area from the very beginning but were guilty of spurning some easy opportunities.
The team’s pressure finally paid dividends on 74 minutes when the pacey Ibrahim, who was become a regular member of Egypt's senior team squad, burst into the area and neatly back-heeled the ball to the unmarked Gaber, who fired home with aplomb from inside the area.
The White Knights put the result beyond doubt three minutes later when a defence-splitting pass from the lively Ibrahim released striker Ahmed Gaafar, who rounded the keeper and shot goalwards. Ittihad defender Reda made a sliding tackle in an attempt to clear the ball but he ended up putting it into his own net.
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