Zamalek leads the pack with nine points, same as South Africa’s Orlando Pirates. A draw will take Zamalek’s tally to 10, the maximum contenders AC Leopards of Congo could reach, but Zamalek has the edge via head-to-head. Three-time winners, Sfaxien are already eliminated with a single point in hand with two games to go.
After grabbing their first league title in 11 years few weeks ago, the White Knights are also aiming to bag a continental title for the first time in 12 years.
Zamalek needed penalties to reach the Egyptian Cup semi-final last Tuesday, to beat Alexandria-based, Al Ittihad. Barely 24 hours later, they were on the road to Tunisia to face Sfaxien, who exited the Tunisian Cup after a 2-1 loss to Etoile du Sahel last Sunday at the quarters.
“We have to put the domestic campaign aside now”, Zamalek head coach Jesualdo Ferreira told Cafonline.com.
“We have two continental matches to play before the Egypt Cup semi-final. So all our focus now is on Sfaxien game. Though a point is enough to see us through, we are playing to win. We are missing a couple of our key players but we have enough to back on against the Tunisians”, added the Portuguese tactician who guided Zamalek to the league title this season.
Right back Omar Gaber is in France for a possible move to Ligue 1 side, Girondins de Bordeaux, while versatile Burkinabe defender Mohamed Koffi is suspended. Second choice goalkeeper Mahmoud Abdel Reheem “Gennesh” may take part in the game after playing the hero’s role in Zamalek’s cup victory over Al Ittihad.
The White Knights won the reverse fixture by a lone goal last June. Burkinabe-import Abdoulaye Cisse scored a last gasp winner to give the Cairo-based side the maximum points.
“Sfaxien is a good side, even though they are eliminated”, Zamalek captain Hazem Emam told Cafonline.com.
“Facing them at their own ground is not going to be easy. Our aim is a victory because we are not only looking for qualification, but we want to finish on top of the group”.
22.08.2015 19H00 Esperance (Tunisia) vs Al Ahly (Egypt)
23.08.2015 15H30 Stade Malien (Mali) vs Etoile du Sahel (Tunisia)
22.08.2015 18H00 Orlando Pirates (South Africa) vs AC Leopards (Congo)
23.08.2015 19H30 CS Sfaxien (Tunisia) vs Zamalek (Egypt)
*All times are in local time