PREVIEW: Zamalek SC vs Mamelodi Sundowns
On the 17th of July, Zamalek SC will take part in their second group stage game of the CAF Champions League, hosting South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns.
In this preview, we will be taking a look at the White Castle upcoming task as well as the state of the group Zamalek have been drawn in.
Zamalek’s position after matchday 1:
The White Knights launched their group stage campaign with a more than satisfying away win against Enyimba FC. Mohamed Helmy’s men had a tough task ahead as the game was played in the hot and humid Nigerian weather in addition to a nearly unplayable, flooded surface. Nevertheless, Bassem Morsi managed to put the only goal of the game to his name to give his team all three points.
With this away win, the White Knights are in the driver seat in the group and control their own fate. The early three points is nothing short of a big stress relief and gives the team the opportunity to play their upcoming game with no ambiguity about their position in the group.
As it stands, Zamalek is second in their group with three points, as the goal difference puts Mamelodi Sundowns in first position.
The Meet Okba side will be looking to make up for a disappointing end to their Egyptian Premier League campaign that saw them lose the title to their arch-rivals Al-Ahly. Mohamed Helmy and his men know that the fans will demand nothing less than success in the upcoming games of their Champions league.
State of the group:
After matchday 1, CAF decided to disqualify ES Setif from the competition after their home game against Mamelodi Sundown witnessed crowd trouble that required the game to be abandoned.
With these latest developments, the group now consists of three teams: Zamalek SC, Enyimba and Mamelodi Sundowns.
Zamalek’s second game day was cancelled due to the fact that they were scheduled to play ES Setif.
While Zamalek is set to host the South-African team on the 17th, Enyimba’s matchday is cancelled, as Setif was to be their opponents.
Despite losing the league title, the White Knights are in good form. Since Mohamed Helmy took over the team, the manager is yet to experience defeat. The manager took his team to 13 outings in all competitions, emerging victorious nine times and settling for the draw on four occasions.
However, the White Knights are suffering from a clear lack of goal-scoring options, having scored more than two goals in only three games during their whole domestic campaign.
With target-man Bassem Morsi suffering of a season-long lethargy, in addition to strikers Mohamed Salem and Ahmed Hassan Mekki being overlooked for the majority of the year, Zamalek’s only other option in that department has been Emmanuel Mayuka. Despite quickly opening his account with the Whites, Mayuka only managed a total of five goals since arriving moving in January. Arguably Zamalek’s most creative attacker, Kahraba, has joined Ittihad Jeddah on a season long loan.
What Zamalek needs to do:
The first thing will be to look forward and quickly forget the loss of the league title. What’s done is done and Helmy and his men can’t do anything about it now.
The second thing Zamalek will want to do going into their game against Mamelodi Sundowns is to play out a perfect defensive game. Despite not scoring a lot of goals, the White’s don’t allow a lot of goals. Helmy’s men had the second best defensive record in the Egyptian premier league this season.
Their goal-scoring woes are the perfect reason to play it tight in the back in order to keep the required goals to win to a minimum
With ES Setif’s disqualification, the White Knights now only need a win and a draw against Mamelodi Sundowns to secure the first place of the group, but any loss going forward would seriously jeopardize this.
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