CAIRO: Below-par Zamalek were held to a goalless draw by 10-man ASEC Mimosas at Military Academy in the CAF Champions League on Saturday.
The Cairo giants were hoping to claim all three points to boost their chances of securing a last-four berth before facing ASEC and Dynamos away from home.
But they failed to do so after a lackluster display which saw them rarely threaten ASEC, who played with 10 men for the majority of the game due to the dismissal of Yao Kouassi.
Kouassi was sent-off for two bookable offenses.
Despite the draw, Zamalek are still second in Group A with four points, adrift of leaders Ahly on goal difference.
Zimbabwean side Dynamos, who have three points, could overtake the White Knights’ position if they beat Ahly in Cairo on Sunday.
Ivorian giants ASEC lie at the bottom with just two points from three games.
Defender Mahmoud Fathallah, who scored two goals in Zamalek s first two Egyptian League games, came close to scoring the opener after three minutes.
He was found unmarked by a right-wing cross but his close-range header was collected by ASEC keeper.
ASEC s only chance came in the 11th minute when Bi Cyriac Gohi fired a low bullet that was blocked by Zamalek goalie Mohamed Abdel-Monsef.
Zamalek then pushed forward seeking to grab the opener, but their efforts were disrupted by too many misplaced passes in midfield.
The hosts also lacked penetration down the flanks, with both Mohamed Ibrahim and Ahmed Ghanem failing to provide sufficient support to Zamalek strikers.
ASEC were down to 10 men when Kouassi received his marching orders for a tackle from behind on Gamal Hamza in the 18th minute.
Despite their numerical advantage, Zamalek, who enjoyed the better of possession, rarely threatened ASEC goal.
Their glorious opportunity fell to striker Mostafa Gaafar just before halftime.
Skipper Ayman Abdel-Aziz fed the unmarked Gaafar with a delicate long pass. The latter controlled it perfectly, but hit a poor shot that was saved by ASEC keeper.
Zamalek laid siege to ASEC s area in the second half, but failed to break through the Ivorians tight defense.
The hosts tried useless long balls, which was easily dealt with by ASEC defenders.
Zamalek had two opportunities to score few minutes before the final whistle.
Veteran striker Abdel-Halim tried to lob the keeper from a tight angle but his effort was deflected away by a defender.
Fathallah should have broken the deadlock when he received Ahmed Magdi s cut-back pass but despite being under no pressure, his shot was too wide to reach the goal.