CAIRO: Zamalek are looking to avoid a defeat against ASEC Mimosas to boost their chances of booking a last-four berth in the CAF Champions League.
Ahly handed arch-rivals Zamalek a gift by beating Dynamos Harare 1-0 as the White Knights preserved their second-place position in Group A.
Zamalek have four points, one ahead of Dynamos and two clear of ASEC, whom they face in Abidjan on Sunday.
If the Cairo giants manage to avoid a defeat against the Ivorians, they will stand a good chance of going through to the semi final alongside Ahly.
Ahly, who share with Zamalek the record for the most Champions League titles (five each), almost ensured their progress as they top their group with 10 points.
Zamalek coach Reiner Hollmann will have an almost fully-fit squad to choose from against ASEC.
The German will just miss striker Mostafa Gaafar, who did not travel with his teammates after a dispute over his bonuses.
Ghanaian striker Junior Agogo is certain to start upfront to add firepower.
Zamalek clearly lacked the goal scoring instinct over their past few matches.
Agogo, who shrugged off his injury problems, had a dream Egyptian League debut after scoring the winner in Zamalek’s 2-1 victory over Masri.
Gamal Hamza, a talented but not consistent forward, is likely to partner with the former Nottingham Forest man.
Hollmann is expected to deploy three midfielders: Ayman Abdel-Aziz, Mohamed Aboul-Ella and Ahmed Magdi.
Ahmed Ghanem and Osama Hassan are likely to operate on the flanks, although neither has impressed this season.
Versatile midfielder Mohamed Abdullah may start on the bench despite putting in a dazzling show against Masri.
Hollmann will probably deploy a cautious strategy to contain ASEC’s fast men.
With Hani Saied, Mahmoud Fathallah and Wissem El-Abdi performing well at the back there shouldn’t be defensive concerns for the former Ahly boss.
Mohamed Abdel-Monsef is expected to stand between the sticks, although his errors do always prove costly.