21:00 Cairo local time | 15:00 ET Canada-USA
Venue: El-Salam Stadium
Referee: Mohamed El-Hanafi
Zamalek will be looking to overcome the first of two tough hurdles standing in their way toward a second straight Egyptian Premier League title when they meet Future FC on Thursday.
Future impressed on their top-flight debut as they lie fourth in the league table with 42 points from 26 games and they have already secured their place in next season’s African Confederation Cup.
Zamalek needed a last-gasp goal to come from two goals down and claim a 3-2 win the last time they met Future in the reverse league fixture in March.
With just eight matches remaining, leaders Zamalek are aware they cannot afford to drop any points. They top the table with 60 points, four ahead of Pyramids FC and nine clear of arch-rivals Ahly, but the latter club can close to within three points of Zamalek if they win their two games in hand.
Zamalek will also face Pyramids in a top-of-the-table clash following the Future game. Both matches may define their season.
The White Knights produced a convincing performance to beat Smouha 2-0 in their previous match on Sunday despite playing without a host of key players, including Moroccan winger Achraf Bencharki and midfield linchpin Tarek Hamed, who have left the club after their contracts expired.
Despite a thin squad, Zamalek’s veteran Portuguese coach Jesualdo Ferreira has managed to blend experience with fresh blood as the team maintain their steady march towards another league crown.
Ferreira, who led Zamalek to a rare domestic double in 2015, quickly stamped his mark after taking over for a second spell in March, having also led them to an Egypt Cup triumph following a 2-1 win over Ahly last week.
Zamalek welcome back influential midfielder Emam Ashour after he missed the win over Smouha due to automatic suspension. Young winger Youssef Nabih is also available after recovering from an injury.