كتب : عمرو حسن | الجمعة، 24 أبريل 2009 - 04:57

How Decastel outclassed Jose

Perhaps the Cairo derby's score line wouldn’t suggest that one coach ran Thursday's clash better than the other. However, recent records and circumstances certainly mean that not losing to Ahli can be considered a Zamalek achievement.

What makes this game different than other stalemates between the two teams is the way Zamalek played. Not only did the White Knights avoid a loss, but they also nearly registered a win that would've been considered well-deserved by many.

Zamalek's attacking inefficiency cost them few goals, and the game's scenario suggests that if they scored, Ahli might not have properly responded.

But what exactly did Zamalek and their coach do to match if not perform better than The Red Devils?

First of all, it was clear that Michel Decastel made his homework before the game. Ahli are so dangerous creating chances from the left flank through Gilberto and the Swiss coach was keen to halt the winger's threat.

Decastel had all the answers in the shape of Hazem Emam. An upcoming skilful player that not only stopped Gilberto but caused him unrest until the Angolan was taken off in the second period.

Emam, who was arguably the best man on the pitch, burst life into Zamalek's right flank as he was a headache which Ahli's defence couldn’t deal with.

Decastel also made sure that whenever Emam attacked, he'd be aided by defender Amr Adel and midfielder Ahmed Abdul-Raouf.

The pair made sure they cover up any gap Emam might have left on his many travels towards Ahli's by-line.

Gilberto's inability to solely mark Emam resulted in the continuous movement of Ahmed Al-Sayed towards the left side of Ahli's defence and this clearly affected the team's backline depth.

Another thing Decastel was successful at was playing – especially during the first-half – with an advancing midfield line that pressured Ahli all along.

They might have lacked the fitness to deploy it for the whole game, but for at least good 60 minutes Ahli's midfield was no where to be seen and most of their efforts were very random.

From one side, such pressure kept Ahli's defence busy and from the other it isolated Ahmed Hassan, Flavio and Mohamed Abou-Treika from the rest of the team.

On the other hand, anyone belonging to Ahli, whether he is a fan, board member or a player knew that the team's main defensive mission would be dealing with Hazem Emam.

Nonetheless, it seems that Manuel Jose couldn’t be bothered with such issue.

Additionally, the Portuguese didn’t try to take advantage of his opponents' advancing midfield, which if once exposed Ahli would have had five or six attackers against three Zamalek defenders.

Jose insisted on having Hassan and Abou-Treika as two forwards behind Flavio for most of the game, a decision which only helped Zamalek keep Ahli's attack at bay.

Replacing Hassan by Al-Egeizi later on wasn’t a magic solution.

It'd have been better for the league champions to shift someone like Ahmed Fathi into a more central position to both minimize Zamalek's superiority and provide Flavio and Abou-Treika with better service.

The Cairo derby needed no genius to run, but we could all see that the edge Zamalek had over Ahli was determined players and a coach that gave the encounter full attention and importance.

Decastel might have earlier said that the game's result did not matter to him, but the way he led his team on Thursday proved otherwise, and he deserves credit for it.

Read Also:

FilGoal.com Players Rating for Cairo Derby

Ahli still have upper hand, says Al-Badri

Zamalek will not relax against Ismaili, says Al-Sheshini

Hassan plays down importance of Emam clash

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