Sharkia snatch first victory over Zamalek in 18 years
Newly promoted side Sharkia hosted Zamalek at El Salam Stadium in a thrilling match that was postponed from the 21st round of the Egyptian Premier League.
Zamalek SC: Genesh; Fatouh, El Wensh, Gabr, Osama; Dunga, Hamed, Hefny; Refa’at, Bassem, Fathi.
El Sharkia: Shokry, Abo Salima, Salem, Farouka, Hassan; H.Hassan, Fawzy, Y.Traore, Adel, Mido; Sharawy.
The White Knights started the game with an inverted 4-3-3 formation for the second time after the 2-0 loss against Smouha in the last round, but made five changes as El Wensh, Osama, Dunga, Refa’at and Bassem replaced Gamal, Tawfik, Ma’arof, Stanley and Paulo in the starting XI for the postponed game from the 21st round.
The match started with a high defensive line from the White Knights which gave them the opportunity to press high up the pitch and give the full backs all the freedom they wanted in order to kill the game from its early stages.
The starting 15 minutes of the game witnessed complete domination from Zamalek’s midfield trio who helped keep the possession of the ball to a percentage that went up to 70 per cent, and as of that Bassem Morsy was able to give Zamalek their first chance after 16 minutes of passing football from a decent header that was just inches past the crossbar from Refa’at’s cross.
El-Wensh almost scored Zamalek’s first goal of the game after hitting the crossbar from a powerful shot that came from a deflected corner from Sharkia’s defense. Sharkia kept trying to penetrate the spaces between Zamalek’s full backs and their center-halves with no real threat except just one chance the was brilliantly tackled by Zamalek’s starlet Fatouh after a decent reception from Hassan.
Emad El-Nahas knew his team’s capability and how to play against players of such high caliber. He was able to read the game properly at half time and was able to send his ambition to win to his players who didn’t let his vision down as they did exactly what they regularly do best which is to sit back and kick the ball to the wingers in the spaces between the full backs and the central defenders.
They were able to score the first goal of the night after just 5 minutes into the second half from a follow-up goal by Mido after a good strike from from Farouka that was deflected by Gennesh’s save into Mido’s foot.
Ten minutes after the goal Mohamed Salah decided to substitute both Shikabala and Stanley for Refa’at and Osama to guarantee an extra man in the final third of the pitch. The game witnessed a lot of complaining after 15 minutes into the second half when a penalty was denied for Zamalek’s Bassem Morsy after his bicycle-kick attempt looked like hitting Farouka’s hand inside the box but the referee decided to play on.
Later on, El-Nahas decieded to kill the game tactically and took off his goal-scorer Mido and replaced him with Rambo who was only inches wide from scoring Sharkia’s second of the macth after a long range effort at the one hour mark. He later substituted A.B.Hassan for Ali Diab to close his midfield’s spaces which were simultaneously attacked by Shikabala and Ayman Hefny.
Salah still had some tricks up his sleeve as he took out Fathi and subbed Gaafar in to try to get his side to equalise by playing 4-2-4 with Hamed and Dunga in midfield. Long balls were raining on Sharkia’s penalty area from both sides in the final 15 minutes of the game and as usual Zamalek were unlucky as they hit the crossbar a second time in this game with Morsy’s header that came after a pinpointed cross from Dunga.
Farouka was sent off after collecting his second yellow card for pulling Gaafar’s shirt and bringing him down with 10 minutes left in the match. The referee added six minutes of injury time but still the White Knights failed to snatch a draw out of the game which left El-Nahas victorious over Salah after the final whistle.
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