Zamalek beat Arab Contractors to maintain perfect league start

Ahram Online , Monday 25 Feb 2013

A second half fightback extended Zamalek's five-game winning streak in the Egyptian Premier league

(Photo: Bassam Al-Zoghby)

Zamalek made it five out of five to start the season after beating Arab Contractors 2-1 on Monday in the Egyptian Premier League.

Two-second half goals from Ahmed Samir and Mohamed Abdel-Shafy on 60 and 69 minutes cancelled Mohamed Farouk's 41st minute lead to ensure Zamalek's best league start since 2003.

The Whites, who overcame their unusual slow starts, failed to show any creativity upfront.

The first action came in the 12th minute with a free-kick from defender Mahmoud Fathallah that flew over the bar.

The Whites extended their domination in terms of possession but could not create breaks through their visitors' compact defence.

Arab Contractors had a precious chance at the half hour mark when energetic forward Mohamed Adel skipped Ibrahim Salah to go clear towards goal but veteran keeper Abdel-Wahed El-Sayed brilliantly dispossessed him before he could score.

Feeling the heat, Zamalek came close to scoring when left-back Sabry Rahil fired a 25 yard shot but unfortunately for him it crashed off the bar.

Seconds later, Contractors' keeper Mohamed Akabawy made a heroic save to deny a close-range header from striker Ahmed Gafaar who wasn't lucky enough to score the rebound as he hit the post.

Sitting back on defence and relying on fast counters, Arab Contractors almost punished Zamalek for unguarded spaces at the back. In the 41st minute, midfielder Mohamed Farouk received a ball unmarked on the edge of the area to send a low shot past keeper El-Sayed.

Zamalek attacked en masse in the second half to break through their rivals defence. El-Akabawy pulled two great saves denying Ahmed Samir and Nour El-Sayed from close range but was finally beaten at the hour mark.

After an exchange of passes in the area Fathallah set up Samir with an excellent header inside the six yards to lodge the equaliser.

The Whites maintained their pressure looking for the winner and they got what they deserved when Mohamed Abdel-Shafy rose above the defence to meet Hazem Emam's cross with a well-placed header to get in the lead in the 69th minute.

Second half substitute Emam repaid his coach's faith in him as he gave the hosts the spark they needed with his darting runs on the right flank.

Nour El-Sayed and Ahmed Eid Abdel-Malek could have added to the scoreline but they failed to beat the in-form keeper El-Akabawy.

However, Mohamed El-Desouky could have grabbed a late equaliser when he was sent clear on a one-on-one with the keeper but his shot went a whisker off the post to drop all the points that night.

The Cairo giants have 15 points from five games to keep their place at the summit of Group B in the Premier League.

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