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VIDEO: Smouha end Zamalek title hopes with 2-1 win
Zamalek were dealt a 2-1 defeat by Smouha in the second match of the mini league phase on Wednesday, ending their chances of winning the league title.
Zamalek XI : Abdel-Wahed El-Sayed, Hamada Tolba, Mahmoud Fathallah, Salah Soliman, Mohamed Abdel-Shafy, Nour El-Sayed, Islam Awad, Omar Gaber, Momen Zakariya, Hazem Emam, Ahmed Ali
Smouha XI: Amir Abdel-Hamid, Sherif Hazem, El-Sayed Farid, Ahmed ‘Ouka’, Ayman Ashraf, Abdel-Rahman Farouk, Tarek Hamed, Ibrahim Abdel-Khalek, Hany El-Egeizy, Alaa Ali, Ahmed Hamoudi
Two first half goals by Smouha were enough to extend the White Knights’ wait for a league title to 10 years.
In the 29th minute, Smouha executed a quick counter attack after Zamalek lost possession. Ahmed Hamoudi was able to carry the ball freely down the right wing before cutting inside and playing a pass across the box. A clever ‘dummy’ by Hany El-Egeizy created some space but it was a great piece of dribbling from Alaa Ali that gave him enough space to finish confidently across El-Sayed with his left foot.
Although Zamalek were eager to get the ball out of their net and back into the center circle, it seems as though the Whites never fully recovered from Smouha’s first goal. Around the 40 minute mark, a mix of poor defensive appetite and a couple of one-two passes on the left wing allowed Ayman Ashraf to get into the box and finish low and hit the inside of the post on the way in.
Poor performances by Hamada Tolba and Islam Awad encouraged Mido to chase the game with some attacking substitutions in Mohamed Ibrahim and Moustafa Fathi.
Mido was rewarded when a lapse of concentration in Smouha’s backline allowed substitute Mohamed Ibrahim to play a lobbed through ball into Ahmed Ali who had quite a bit left to do, but struck the ball powerfully into the back of the net.
Not for the first time this season, Zamalek made a late rally to steal a point but Mohamed Ibrahim’s shot was on the wrong side of the post and Zamalek were ultimately unsuccessful in equalizing.
This loss also means Zamalek’s only chance of qualifying for next year’s CAF Champions League is if they win this year’s edition, while Smouha qualify for the first time in their history.