CAIRO: Atletico Madrid almost spoiled Zamalek’s centennial celebrations with an easy 4-1 victory over the Cairo club.
Argentine striker Eduardo Salvio gave his side a two-goal cushion early in the first half before Mido reduced the arrears via a controversial penalty on 24 minutes.
The Spanish side compounded their opponents’ woes via another brace from Brazilian attacking midfielder Diego in the second half.
An exhibition involving old Zamalek players was held before the game as part of the ceremony that saw the Whites honor club icons from different generations.
Frenetic first half
Zamalek manager Hassan Shehata started with a 4-4-2 formation, with fringe duo Karimu Alhassan and Sabri Rahil among a four-man backline, while Mido and Razak Omotoyossi led the attack.
The first half was an eventful affair with the Spanish side scoring two goals inside the first 15 minutes through Salvio, who stunned the lively home crowd when he beat his marker at the near post to exquisitely volley home a right-wing cross.
The Argentinean striker stole the show once again when he chested home a Jose Antonio Reyes cross into an empty net.
The Liga side could have added a few more goals to their early lead against a shambolic Zamalek backline, but the Whites were saved when referee Samir Osman gifted them a penalty after Shikabala was brought down, with TV replays showing that the challenge was at the edge of the box.
Mido, who scored from the spot on his returning debut against Ghazl Mahalla last month, stepped up and made no mistake despite the keeper diving in the same direction.
Zamalek took heart from their goal but spurned a glorious chance of an equalizer when Shikabala glaringly missed an empty net after rounding off the keeper.
Two more for Diego
In an attempt to improve his out-of-sorts defense, Shehata substituted frontline duo Omotoyossi and Mido by striker Ahmed Gaafar and defender Mahmoud Fathallah, switching to a 3-5-2 formation, with the latter playing as a sweeper.
However, Atletico continued the accomplished display they produced in the first half with Diego the hero this time, surprising Abdul-Wahed with a delightful freekick that went into the bottom corner of the net seven minutes past the interval.
Abdul-Wahed then asked to be substituted midway into the second half, giving Mahmoud Abdul- Monem ‘Gennesh’ the opportunity to be part of the memorable event.
The reserve keeper was relatively impressive as he made some fine saves to prevent a bigger defeat, but could do nothing to deny Diego a second goal.
The Brazilian completed the rout when he notched home from close range after Salvio’s initial lob bounced off the bar to make life more difficult for Shehata’s men and end Zamalek’s centennial celebrations with an embarrassing scoreline.
Egyptian fans of Zamalek club celebrate during the friendly football match against Atletico Madrid. (AFP Photo / Khaled Desouki)