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Preview: 112th Egyptian Premier League Cairo Derby
KingFut previews the action as Al Ahly and Zamalek square off in the 112th Egyptian Premier League Cairo Derby on Saturday night.
The Reds enter their final league game having already secured an unprecedented 38th title, beating fierce rivals Ismaily to crown themselves 2015/16 Egyptian Premier League in late June.
Zamalek, on the other hand, have been in top form since Mohamed Helmy’s appointment in late April. The Whites were even able to cut the gap at the top to five points, despite being 11 points behind Al Ahly at one point.
Despite securing the title, the win against Ismaily remains Al Ahly’s only victory in their past five games in all competitions. In fact, the Reds endured back-to-back defeats in the CAF Champions League against ZESCO and ASEC Mimosas, respectively.
It’s a different story when it comes to recent encounters, where Al Ahly have the definite edge. After all, the Reds have only succumbed to defeat twice against their arch-rivals since 2004/05.
Martin Jol will have to deal with the absences of superstars Abdullah El-Said and Malick Evouna due to injuries sustained against Dakhleya and Al-Masry respectively, whilst Ahmed El-Sheikh also misses out due to a hamstring injury sustained in training.
Saad Samir will also be unavailable, having picked up a red card in the draw against Ittihad of Alexandria. Lastly, Saleh Gomaa will miss out too, after failing to show up to training following the Ittihad game.
Mohamed Helmy, on the other hand, enters the game with no significant absences.
Expected Zamalek XI: Shennawy; Tolba, Koffi, Gabr, Gomaa; Hamed, Moruf, Tawfik; Ibrahim, Morsi, Kahraba
Expected Al Ahly XI: Adel, Fathi, Rabia, Hegazy, Rahil; Ghaly, Ashour; Soliman, Momen, Ramadan; Antwi
Key battle: Mohamed Ibrahim vs Sabry Rahil: The in-form Ibrahim – who has scored or assisted in his last five matches – will be looking to wreak havoc as the Whites aim to spoil their bitter rivals’ title celebrations by clinching victory in the Cairo Derby; Rahil’s performance at left-back will be crucial in the battle for control of the Suez pitch.
One to watch: Ramadan Sobhi – The youngster is reportedly very close to joining English side Stoke City, and it remains to be seen whether or not it affect’s the 19-year-old’s match, assuming Jol picks him to start.
Prediction: Zamalek 1-1 Al Ahly.