Zamalek crowned the long-awaited Egyptian champions
A draw away at Al Geish, behind closed doors at Cairo’s Air Defence Stadium, would give Zamalek their first league success since 2004
Zamalek claimed their first Egyptian Premier League title in 11 years after nearest challengers Ahly were held to a 1-1 draw by Smouha, ending a long wait.
The White Knights have finally ended the hegemony of bitter rivals Ahly, who have won the coveted title eight times in a row since Zamalek's last triumph in 2004. Two seasons were cancelled due to civil unrest in Egypt.
The aristocratic club, known as the White Knights, needed one point from their last two games of the season to bring back a competitive edge to their rivalry with Al Ahli, who won a record 37th championship last season.
A draw away at Al Geish, behind closed doors at Cairo’s Air Defence Stadium, would give Zamalek their first league success since 2004.
Ahly needed to win their remaining two games and hoped Zamalek lose theirs to cause a huge and unthinkable upset. However, they were held to draw against Smouha.
Zamalek, coached by Portuguese Jesualdo Ferreira, could have sewn up the title last week but lost their derby to Al Ahli, who have won eight titles in the last decade with two seasons not completed because of the civil unrest in the country.
This year’s championship has run over having been suspended for just over a month after 22 people were killed in a stampede on Feb. 8 when police fired tear gas and birdshot at Zamalek supporters trying to force their way into the Air Defence Stadium.
Football matches have often been a flashpoint for violence in Egypt where 72 Al Ahli fans were killed in Port Said in February 2012, prompting a halt to club football for almost a year.