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VIDEO: Ahly seal crucial win in Congo, Zamalek thrashed at Pirates
Al-Ahly 1-0 AC Leopards
Al-Ahly beat Congolese side AC Leopards 1-0 in the Group A clash of the CAF Champions League in front of a packed 20,000-seater stadium in Dolisie on Saturday.
Ahly started the first half brightly and showing reminisce of their dominant performance in last year’s Champions League that won them the competition for the 7th time.
The Egyptians took the lead in the 40th minute when Abou-Treika’s pin point pass found Walid Soliman, who managed to stick out a leg to chip the rushing keeper before being forced into a front flip.
Ahly were showing great dominance in the first-half, however, just before the half-time break AC Leopards, who defeated Zamalek in the previous group game, turned up the pressure and Sherif Ekramy was forced into a great save.
In the second-half the tables were completely turned with AC Leopards on the upper hand and were holding possession well in Ahly’s half. Al-Ahly were content on parking the bus but were also dangerous on the counter attack.
Leopards had chance after chance but were denied by some excellent saves from Ahly’s number one Ekramy.
With 16 minutes to play, Mohamed Abou-Treika was replaced by Egypt U20 international Mahmoud ‘Trezeguet’ Hassan and the final substitution from Ahly came in the 82nd minute when young striker Amr Gamal came on for Hamdy.
Zamalek 1-4 Orlando Pirates
Zamalek‘s hopes of qualifying to the CAF Champions League semi-finals are hanging by a thread after losing 4-1 in South Africa to Orlando Pirates on Saturday.
Goals from Lennox Bacela, Tlou Segolela, Sifiso Myeni and Daine Klate dealt Zamalek, who were without striker Ahmed Gaafar and centre-back Mahmoud Fathallah due to suspension, their worst loss since a 4-1 defeat at APR Rwanda in 2004, and just a fortnight after the Buccaneers whipped the Whites’ Cairo rivals Al-Ahly 3-0 in El-Gouna.
27-year-old Shikabala scored just two minutes after Bacela opened the scoring in the 27th minute to keep the score level as the first-half ended in a 1-1 draw. Although, the goal – Shika’s first for Zamalek since January 2012 after spending last season on loan with Emirati outfit Al-Wasl – proved to be a consolation as the Pirates scored three unanswered goals in the second-half.
Surprise inclusions in the Whites’ starting eleven included goalkeeper Mahmoud Abdel-Rahim ‘Gennesh’, who had a solid game between the sticks after given the nod ahead of club icon Abdel-Wahed El-Sayed, while Islam Awad took on an attacking midfield role in place of Zamalek star and Malaga target Mohamed Ibrahim.
The win keeps the South African side on the top of the Group A standings with seven points from three games, while Helmi Toulan’s side are very close to being eliminated from the running for the final four as they lie bottom of the group with a single point, three behind Ahly and Congo’s AC Leopards.