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Al Ahly-Zamalek: Who Will Claim Cairo Derby Bragging Rights?

All eyes will be on the Cairo derby when the country’s biggest football clubs Al Ahly and Zamalek lock horns at the Cairo International Stadium.

Monday’s tie will be the 122th league meeting between the two sides. They first faced each other in a league game in 1917.

Zamalek enter into the game on the top of the log with 44 points from 20 matches, while their archrivals Al Ahly are second with 40 points from 18 games.

The White Knights come into the match having beaten Smouha 2-1 in their last league match that was played on Thursday last week.

Patrice Carteron’s coached side have lost only two matches this season, with 13 wins and five draws and have conceded just five goals at home this season.

Al Ahly have also lost two games with the last one coming few weeks ago to seventh-paced Ghazl El-Mahalla.

The Red Eagles coach Pitso Mosimane faces a significant amount of pressure, having faced a lot of critics from former Al Ahly players for losing points. Victory here would not only keep him in the job, but could completely reform the culture of African club football.

Mosimane will be without the services of influential left-back Ali Maaloul, Nigerian forward Junior Ajayi and defensive midfielder Hamdi Fathi against Zamalek.

However, the South African coach will be having Walter Bwalya and Saad Samir at his disposal though the duo have been having unconvincing displays in recent matches.

Frenchman Patrice Carteron leads Zamalek and was at once a coach of Al Ahly. In Marwan Hamdy and Osama Faisal, he possesses an all-star front line;as they seek to maintain their position on the top of the log.

In the build-up to clash, The White Knights coach Carteron has stressed the importance of victory on the day.

“On paper, there are still many matches left. However, tomorrow’s result will have a big role in settling competition for the title. Whoever wins will get a big boost of morale,”Carteron said on Sunday.

Egyptian referee Amir Omar will officiate the much awaited derby s the country’s football association continues to break away with the tradition of assigning foreign referees for the high-stakes game.

Omar will be assisted by Youssef El-Basaty, Hany Abdelfatah, and Ahmed El-Ghandour, with Mahmoud Ashour and Mahmoud Bassiouny taking charge of the VAR.

Monday’s encounter is destined to be an exciting affair, and despite Al Ahly’ dominance over the years in the fixture, their cross-town rivals will be eager to give their fans something to shout about.

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