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Cairo Derby Preview: Crucial clash in Alexandria
Al Ahly ‘host’ Zamalek at Borg El Arab on Tuesday evening in the 153rd edition of the Cairo derby (the 111th in the league).
Assuming the match goes forward on schedule – Zamalek have strongly voiced their disapproval of the venue – the match will be a crucial step in the battle for the 2015/16 league title.
Managers Abdel-Aziz Abdel-Shafy (interim) and Ahmed Hossam ‘Mido’ will face off for the first time ever, and the stakes are extremely high.
Al Ahly lead the Premier League standings with 35 points, four points ahead of their bitter rivals, with both teams having played 15 matches to date.
A win for the Red Devils would open up a seven-point gap between the two, and would make the Whites’ mission to defend the league ‘shield’ much more difficult. On the other hand, a victory for Mido’s men would put them within a point of first place with 18 matches to go.
Al Ahly probable XI: Ekramy; Fathi, Rabia, Hegazy, Rahil; Ashour, Ghaly; Momen, Sobhy, El-Said; Antwi
Zamalek probable XI: Shennawy; Gaber, Gabr, Dweidar, Tolba; Tawfik, Abdel-Khalek; Shikabala, Hefny, Kahraba; Morsi
Key battle: Abdallah El-Said vs Ahmed Tawfik – The attacking midfielder has thrived in a ‘free’ role this season, creating chances left and right; Tawfik will need to stifle his adversary during the match if his side are to focus on attacking.
Player to watch: Shikabala – 29-year-old Mahmoud Abdel-Razek ‘Shikabala’ is participating in his first Cairo derby in over 27 months, and will be raring to add to his one goal in 14 previous appearances against the Red Devils.
Trivia: Al Ahly have failed to score in four of their last eight home matches against Zamalek in the league (including 2013/14 playoff match), but have only lost once during that run.
Prediction: Al Ahly 1-1 Zamalek
Kick-off is scheduled for 19:00 CLT at the Borg El Arab stadium; make sure to follow our extensive coverage leading up to, during, and after the derby!