CAIRO: Amr Zaki returned to action but Wigan Athletic s hopes of earning a Europa League place suffered a major blow following a 2-0 defeat to Blackburn Rovers on Sunday.
Benni McCarthy put the hosts ahead on the stroke of halftime when he headed in Morten Pedersen s corner.
The South Africa striker doubled Blackburn s advantage 15 minutes after the restart.
His free-kick found Captain Ryan Nelsen who rose above his markers to flick the ball past Wigan keeper Chris Kirkland.
Egypt striker Ahmed “Mido Hossam started the game but barely made an impact, having moved to the flanks too often to gather the ball.
Wigan coach Steve Bruce replaced him with his compatriot Zaki, who made his first appearance since getting over his dispute with the Latics.
But the Bulldozer, who is loan from Cairo giants Zamalek, had a quiet second half.
Wigan slipped to 11th place on 41 points, six behind seventh-placed Fulham with five matches remaining
Wigan will have a mountain to climb to finish seventh and book a place in Europa League, the new version of the UEFA Cup.