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VIDEO: Zamalek maintain lead over Al Ahly with win over Ismaily
Zamalek emerged as comfortable victors tonight, beating Ismaily 3-0 thanks to goals from Bassem Morsi, Ahmed Tawfik and Moruf Youssef, extending their lead to 6 points over 2nd place rivals Al Ahly. Zamalek still hold a game in hand over their rivals in second place.
Zamalek got off to a dream start within the first ten minutes of the match, taking the lead through prolific striker Bassem Morsi in the 7th minute. The Egyptian international finished off a swift attack, controlling a Hazem Emam cross from the right wing before swivelling after evading the defence, blasting a shot under Ismaily keeper Essam El-Hadary. Two minutes later, Zamalek doubled their lead, after some brilliant play down the left wing by Moruf opened up a one on one chance for Ahmed Tawfik. Tawfik controlled the ball with a fantastic first touch before placing past the oncoming El-Hadary to make it 2-0, with the Whites in cruise control.
With momentum on their side, Zamalek set about extending their advantage over the Dervishes, with Ayman Hefny coming close with a majestic solo effort in the 20th minute, skilfully evading two Ismaily defenders on the edge of the box with a quick turn before blasting just wide of the right post. Bassem Morsi had another chance to extend the lead three minutes later, with his shot on goal saved well by El-Hadary, with Zamalek still dominating proceedings at this point.
The lead should have definitely been extended in the 30th minute, but for the brilliance of El-Hadary in the Ismaily goals. Bassem Morsi went through on goal, despite being offside when the ball was played, and lashed a powerful left footed strike on goal, but El-Hadary, with lightning quick reactions, managed to get a strong hand on it and push it out. Two minutes later, and Zamalek had El-Shennawy to thank at the other end, after an even better save off of the head of Banahene. The striker headed powerfully across goal from just outside the six yard box, with El-Shennawy on hand to produce a diving reflex save to push the ball out for a corner. 2-0 it remained at the end of the half, with Zamalek dominating proceedings, holding the lions share of possession whilst creating the better of the chances.
Ismaily came out more organised in the second half, pressing early and looking for a foothold in the match. Zamalek, content to defend their lead and attack on the counter, were unlucky to be denied a penalty in the 50th minute after a blatant foul in the area on Ahmed Tawfik. With the Zamalek defence sitting back, Ismaily found it hard to find space, with shots raining down on Zamalek’s goal from distance, albeit not accurately. Zamalek managed to triple their advantage in the 57th minute following another counter attack, with Ayman Hefny setting up Moruf, who struck a powerful drive into the bottom right corner of the net from 24 yards out.
Ismaily’s best chance of the half came in the 70th minute, with midfield stalwart Amr El-Suleiya unleashing a bullet of a strike on goal, with El-Shennawy making a smart diving save to deny the goal. Zamalek, still controlling the game at this point, started slowing down the tempo of the match, content with their lead, whilst exposing a complete lack of urgency from Ismaily, who lacked the spark needed to unlock a resilient defence.
Moruf had the chance to bury what would have been a contender for goal of the season in the 82nd minute, hitting a powerful first time volley from a cleared corner which sailed just over the crossbar. Zamalek, making the most of some extremely sloppy defensive play from Ismaily, went close again a minute later, with no end result. Metwally came close for Ismaily in the 85th minute, with a fierce strike from all of 30 yards, which hit the crossbar and went out for a goal kick. Too little too late for the Ismailia based side, Zamalek running out comfortable 3-0 winners.
The result sees Zamalek take their point tally at the top of the Egyptian Premier League table to 77 points after 34 games played, six points points ahead of second placed Al Ahly, who have played a match more than their cross town rivals. The defeat sees Ismaily retain their position in fifth spot after a disappointing run of game which has seen the Dervishes failing to register a single goal in four of their last six matches.