Zamalek equal club record for best Egyptian league start

Hatem Maher, Wednesday 24 Apr 2013

A goal by in-form winger Mohamed Ibrahim extends Zamalek's winning streak to nine games following a 1-0 victory over Ittihad El-Shorta on Wednesday

Mohamed Ibrahim of Egypt
Mohamed Ibrahim of Egypt's Zamalek (Photo: Reuters)

Zamalek equaled a club record for the best Egyptian Premier League start after claiming a narrow 1-0 win over Ittihad El-Shorta for their ninth successive victory on Wednesday.

Winger Mohamed Ibrahim, Zamalek's best performer so far this term, curled home a second-half free kick to take his tally to four league goals and maintain the team's winning streak. Zamalek survived a late onslaught to claim all three points.

They matched their record of nine straight wins in their opening nine games of the 2003-04 season, which marked the last of their 11 league triumphs.

Zamalek have also boosted their morale following a disappointing 1-1 draw at home to Ethiopia's Saint George in the first leg of the African Champions League round of 16, which put them at risk of early elimination.

They lie on top of Group B in the league's new format with 27 points, six clear of second-placed Ismaily and 12 above El-Shorta.

Cautious formation

Zamalek started with a cautious formation that featured three defensive-minded midfielders but they still had the upper hand in an uninspiring affair.

They could have fallen behind, however, on the quarter hour mark when a mix-up between defender Salah Soliman and keeper Abdel-Wahed El-Sayed allowed El-Shorta's Mostafa Raafat to gather the loose ball but he was denied by a last-ditch interception from Mahmoud Fathallah with the goal gaping.

The Cairo side then took control and were unlucky not to go ahead three minutes before the interval when a shot by Ibrahim, who eluded his challenger on the edge of the area, deflected off a defender and found midfielder Eslam Awad, who shot wide with the goal at his mercy.

Zamalek broke the deadlock on 64 minutes when the lively Ibrahim stroked a free-kick over the wall and into the corner of the net as El-Shorta keeper Ahmed Saad was too slow to react.

El-Shorta could have restored parity on several occasions. Substitute Mohamed Maged's header was denied by the post and he also rattled the bar with a close-range effort in the latter stages.

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