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Ismaily overtake Zamalek in the race for a semi-final spot
Zamalek were handed a 1-0 defeat by Ismaily in a potentially decisive Group B match in the race for second place on Thursday.
Zamalek XI: Abdel-Wahed El-Sayed; Hazem Emam, Mahmoud Fathallah, Yasser Ibrahim, Mohamed Abdel-Shafy; Momen Zakaria, Ahmed Tawfik, Omar Gaber, Mostafa Fathi; Ahmed Ali, Mohamed Ibrahim
Ismaily XI: Mohamed Awad; Ahmed El-Aash, Shawky El-Said, Abdel-Hamid Samy, Amr El-Wahsh; Hosni Abd-Rabo, Saleh Moussa, Mohamed Zika, Mahmoud Hamad, Mohamed Abdel-Aziz, John Antwi
Following the positive result against Qanah, Mido warned his players of the importance of the game against Ismaily:
“The Ismaily game is a make-or-break tie if we are determined to reach the league play-offs,” said former Tottenham striker Mido.
“The Petrojet defeat was a setback that we were able to overcome, I told my players we got five matches remaining and we have no other option but to win them all.
“We will not be waiting for other teams’ results to help us qualify for the final stage.”
The match began as an intense affair with both sides challenging for every ball in typical physical manner.
Ismaily’s Hosni Abd-Rabo, the Egyptian international veteran, pulled the strings early on in the game from central midfield as he switched the play and distributed neatly. He also delivered a clever set piece behind the Whites’ wall but the effort flashed just wide of their net.
Zamalek kept Mohamed Awad, the Dervishes’ goalkeeper, busy in the first half as well. Fathallah hit a thunderous free-kick from almost thirty yards out but Awad made an impressive reaction save onto the crossbar.
The second half was slightly more open and had more goalscoring opportunities. However it must be said that Ismaily scored the opener, and the winner, against the run of play.
Zamalek were enjoying a positive spell in the game however a dangerous low inswinging cross from the right wing wasn’t dealt with by Abdel-Wahed and the league’s top scorer John Antwi was there to finish off the play and record his 11th goal of the season.
Ismaily currently remains two points above Zamalek with both teams having played 17 games. The final three games of the season will demand consistency and nerve from both sides to finish second in Group B and secure a semi-final spot.