After losing the Champions League final on aggregate to Mameloudi Sundowns, Zamalek’s...
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VIDEO: Ahly through to Champions League semi-finals as Zamalek crash out
Ahly needed a win to secure their spot in the last four whereas Zamalek had no choice but to collect three points to keep their hopes alive to challenge for a semi-final spot.
Al-Ahly XI: Sherif Ekramy, Ahmed Fathi, Wael Gomaa, Mohamed Naguib, Sayed Moawad, Hossam Ashour, Shehab Ahmed, Abdullah El-Said, Mohamed Abou-Treika, Walid Soliman, Ahmed Abdel-Zaher.
Zamalek XI: Abdel-Wahed El-Sayed, Ahmed Samir, Hamada Tolba, Mahmoud Fathalla, Mohamed Abdel-Shafy, Nour El-Sayed, Omar Gaber, Ahmed Tawfik, Shikabala, Ahmed Eid, Ahmed Gaafar.
Reigning African Champions Al-Ahly today recorded a 4-2 victory over fierce Cairo rivals Zamalek in El-Gouna. It was Zamalek who took the lead early on after a Shikabala lofted through ball found Omar Gaber, who beat Mohamed Naguib for pace and slot past Sherif Ekramy in the 4th minute of the first half.
Al-Ahly hit back five minutes later with a thunderous finish from Walid Soliman that had Abdel-Wahed El-Sayed rooted to the spot and Ahly were back in the derby.
Six minutes later Ahly scored again when a corner-kick was taken short and Ahmed Fathi crossed from the right to find Abdel-Zaher, who headed home to put the champions 2-1 up with 15 minutes played.
As the half commenced chances were far and few between the two sides, however Ahly looked more in control and better going forward. Zamalek struggled to carve out any clear goal scoring opportunities apart from an Ahmed Eid header in the 48th minute that was pushed away by Sherif Ekramy signalling a rare chance for the White Knights. The half ended 2-1.
At the start of the second-half, Shikabala squandered a fantastic opportunity to level the score when he latched on to a long ball. Shika managed to beat his marker but his finish was high and wide from inside the box.
Two minutes later Ahly managed to score again. This time through talisman Mohamed Abou-Trieka who met a sublime back-heel pass from Walid Soliman and fired a brilliant volley to beat the hapless Abdel-Wahed at his near post. It was Abou-Trieka’s 13th goal in the Cairo Derby equalising the record for all time derby top scorer previously set by Mahmoud ‘Al-Tetsh’ Mokhtar, who passed away in 1965.
Helmy Toulan then reacted immediately with a double substitution, as Hazem Emam and diminutive attacking midfielder Mohamed Ibrahim come on for Eid and Samir. The introduction of Mohamed Ibrahim managed to inject some zeal into Zamalek build up play but all come to no avail as Zamalek continued to suffer upfront and chances were at a premium.
71 minutes played and Ahly score again as right-back Ahmed Fathi ghosts behind Zamaleks static backline to fire home a 4th goal for Ahly and surely secure the 3 points.
Zamalek were in trouble and needed 4 goals in 18 minutes to keep their hopes alive. Veteran Ahmed Hassan came on for Omar Gaber in the 75th minute, straight after a Gaafar header was tipped over by Ekramy to keep the score at 4-1. 6 minutes later substitute Ahmed Hassan finds the net as Ekramy could only palm a cross into the path of the veteran midfielder who heads into the empty net and make it 4-2.
This result guides Ahly to the top of the table with 10 points and hands them a place in the last 4. It also signals the end of the journey for Zamalek as they are now knocked out of the competition and will play the penultimate fixture against Congolese side Leopards for pride in 2 weeks time.
Ahly will play Orlando Pirates in the last game knowing a draw would secure first place in the group which could be an advantage in avoiding Tunisian giants Esperance in the semi-final.