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VIDEO: Zamalek defeat Contractors as McLeish gets first league win
Alex McLeish led Zamalek to move within six points of leaders Al Ahly after they defeated Arab Contractors 2-0 in the 21st round of the Egyptian Premier League on Sunday.
The game started with Zamalek looking to redeem themselves after their previous loss to Entag El-Harby and they did come out of the blocks quickly.
Arab Contractors XI: Mahmoud Aboul-Soud; Mohamed Samir, Fathi Mabrouk, Ahmed Ali, Ahmed Moudi; Ali Rabo, Mohamed Abou-Sheashaa, Karim Mostafa, Omar Gamal; Mohamed Fadl, Ahmed Ali.
It was Zamalek’s playmaker Ayman Hefny who got the champions first shot on after great work; he cut in from the wing but could only hit his shot wide from the goal.
The Whites came back soon after in the 10th minute. Back into the starting lineup after a run of games on the bench, Mostafa Fathi weaved his way through Contractors’ players from the half-way line but couldn’t get a shot on time.
The warning signs were there and it was all Zamalek. That was until former Whites’ player Omar Gamal should have done better from close range after Ahmed Ali put him through, but his shot went straight at El-Shennawy.
It looked to be going into half-time goalless but Ayman Hefny’s corner found Mayuka, whose poor shot turned into an assist for Mohamed Koffi. The Burkinabé defender headed the ball into the corner to give Zamalek the lead in the 44th minute.
Zamalek doubled their lead in the first minute of injury time. Ayman Hefny showed brilliant skill in the box until he was taken down, but everyone stopped except Mayuka who turned and shot, to score the Whites’ second goal.
This game threatened to be a goal-fest as Zamalek reached the Contractors goal numerous times during the second half, but without really finding the last touch.
Ten minutes into the second half, a great team move should have finished with a Fathi pass to Mayuka to finish into an empty net. However, the young Egyptian winger shot tamely to the strikers’ frustration.
The Contractors did have one sole chance to get things back on track in the second half. Ahmed Ali did great to get past two Zamalek players, but El-Shennawy denied former Al Ahly player Mohamed Fadl from reducing the deficit in the 72nd minute.
Substitute Shikabala, who came on to replace Hefny, looked lively late on. However, after some great skill, his shot hit closer to the corner flag than to the goal itself.
The win took Zamalek to 41 points, six points behind leaders Al Ahly and also gave Scottish manager Mcleish his first win as Zamalek boss. Struggling Contractors remained on 19 points in the 15th place, four points above the relegation zone.