Not too long ago

Alaa Abdel-Ghani , Tuesday 16 Aug 2022

Zamalek are in the quarter-finals of a tournament they won less than a month ago, reports Alaa Abdel-Ghani


Football club Zamalek on Monday reached the last eight of the Egypt Cup, edging past Ismaili 1-0.

Zamalek are the defending champions, having won the same tournament just last month in a 2021 final derailed by the coronavirus and a congested fixture.

Against Ismaili, Ahmed Al-Sayed, better known as Zizo, scored the lone goal from the penalty spot in the 19th minute. Though Zamalek won, they lived dangerously for many parts of the game, allowing Ismaili to set up offensive plays within striking distance of the goal. Ismaili had two shots in the first half which hit the post.  

In July, Zamalek had beaten their traditional Cairo rivals Ahly 2-1 for their 28th Egypt Cup. At the time, the win meant that Zamalek completed the double after winning last season’s league title.

This season Zamalek might pull off a second straight this and that. Besides reaching the cup quarter-finals, they are on the verge of winning the league title for the second consecutive year. With just four games left, Zamalek are on 72 points, seven ahead of second place Pyramids and 10 points ahead of Ahly which have a game in hand.

Zamalek’s quarter-final opponent will be Masri.

On Sunday, Ahly reached the cup quarter-final, getting past relegation-headed Maqqasa 1-0 by way of a last-minute penalty from Rami Rabea.

Ahly continued to play with rookies and those who have seen limited playing time. The decision to rest regulars was taken recently in matches in the league which Ahly have pretty much conceded. While the young faces have at times risen to the challenge, at others they have been plodding.   

Before the game Ahli had announced they would not continue playing in the cup because of what the club described as poor officiating which had robbed the team of valuable points in recent league matches. But apparently Ahly backed down from their boycott threat.

Ahly set up a quarter-final meeting with the Arab Contractors.

*A version of this article appears in print in the 18 August, 2022 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.

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