Zamalek celebrate winning Egyptian league title

Zamalek fans celebrate
Zamalek fans celebrate

Egyptian champions Zamalek celebrated clinching their first Premier League title in more than a decade with a 3-2 win behind closed doors at Al Geish on Wednesday.

Zamalek had been crowned champions for the first time since 2004 on Tuesday when rivals Al Ahly, who have dominated the league in recent years, were held to a 1-1 draw by Smouha, mathematically ruling them out of the race.

It meant that Zamalek's victory in Cairo's Air Defence Stadium extended their advantage at the top.

With one match remaining, Zamalek have 86 points, eight clear of Ahly.

The five-time African champions went up after 12 minutes courtesy of an own goal by Mohamed Hashem before veteran Ahmed Eid extended their lead two minutes later.

Hashem then made amends for his earlier mistake, before Bassem Morsy restored the two goal lead of Zamalek on 74 minutes, his 18th strike of the season.

Islam Kamal reduced the deficit for Geish in stoppage time but it was not enough to stop Zamalek from celebrating their title feat on a winning note.

Since Zamalek's last triumph 11 years ago, Ahly have won eight championships while two seasons were cancelled due to civil unrest in Egypt.

This season was also overshadowed by crowd violence.

A stampede by Zamalek fans seeking to get into a behind-closed-doors game in February resulted in 22 deaths and led to the halting of the league for one month before the government allowed matches to resume without fans in attendance.

Former Porto manager Jesualdo Ferreira is Zamalek's fourth coach this season and is credited with finishing off the campaign in style.

They did, however, suffer a 2-0 defeat by Ahly last week which extended Zamalek's run without a win in the fiercely-contested Cairo derby to 20 matches.

Both Zamalek and Ahly will play in next year's African Champions League.

This season, they are both involved in the second-tier African Confederation Cup.

Both are top of their respective groups and remain in a good position to qualify for the semi-finals.