Ahmed Belal was given a surprise and a rare start alongside Flavio Amado in the attack. Shadi Mohamed's injury during the warm up and switching Ahmed Fathi to defense gave Moetaz Eno another unusual start in midfield.
Tunisian midfielder Anis Boujelbene came back from the dead to not only be part of the squad, but also to come on as a second half substitute.
All these changes are just part of Manuel Jose's unexplainable selections that has been going on since the start of the season.
Maybe Jose would think that Belal, Eno, and Boujelbene have certain characters that were needed for a game like Zamalek's, but what is the point of fielding a player in an important game if he lacks the physical, mental and tactical fitness for it?
Perhaps Eno was one who stood out from the trio with his solid performance, as for Belal and Boujelbene; we could all see that the pair weren’t fully prepared to feature in a derby clash.
Maybe they did their best to compete physically, but it was obvious that Belal's recent absence from the starting line up affected his sharpness.
Boujelbene, who's set to leave the club at the end of the season, seemed totally oblivious towards whatever was going on around him.
Similar changes makes us wonder why for example Hassan Mostafa and Hussein Ali featured in the team's last two games, only to be dropped against Zamalek.
Others like Ahmed Hassan Farag, Hussein Yasser and Hani Al-Egeizi come in and out of the squad and we don’t know on what bases.
All we know is that their inconsistent participation will never help them prove their worth and would only affect the whole team's harmony.
Every single occasion Belal, Farag or Eno plays, fans and pundits come out to agree that they did ok and if given enough opportunities they will do an awful lot more for the team. But this never happens.
It seems that Ahli's rotation policy is being carried out randomly and without any clear system. No one knows why and when they play or why and when they don’t.
Ahli would have won the derby regardless of whoever played, and they will similarly win the league. But why just win while you can do so and preserve your talents by setting a clear selection policy?
Jose needs to be more opened when it comes to changing players, at least to give individuals a bigger motive and an idea about their precise role within the club.