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Zamalek regain dignity with 3-0 win over Étoile
Étoile Sportive du Sahel have qualified for the final of the CAF Confederations Cup with a 5-4 aggregate score, despite suffering a 3-0 defeat to Zamalek in Cairo.
After losing the first leg 1-5, Zamalek showed great character on the field as the club narrowly missed out on a historic comeback over Étoile du Sahel despite being a man down for the majority of the match.
Zamalek XI: Ahmed El-Shennawy; Hazem Emam, Ali Gabr, Ahmed Dweidar, Mohamed Gomaa; Tarek Hamed, Omar Gaber, Ahmed Hamoudi, Mahmoud Kahraba, Ayman Hefny; Bassem Morsi.
Étoile du Sahel XI: Aymen Mathlouthi; Ghazi Abderrazak, Ammar Jemal, Saddam Ben Aziza, Hamdi Nagguez; Alaya Brigui, Aymen Trabelsi, Mohamed Msakni, Hamza Lahmar, Mohamed Amin Ben Amor; Baghdad Bounedjah.
Zamalek’s players started the match with high spirits, keeping the ball for long periods of time.
In the fifth minute, Ali Gabr was sent off for elbowing Baghdad Bounajah in the chest after the latter successfully provoked the Zamalek defender.
However, Zamalek’s players kept their heads up and Mahmoud ‘Kahraba’ was able to score just seven minutes later to spark a comeback thanks to a one-two play with Ayman Hefny.
Étoile’s first shot of the game came in the 17th minute through Youssef Msekni. Three minutes later, Ferreira was forced into a substitution in order to fill the gap left by Ali Gabr as Mohamed Koffi replaced Ahmed Hamoudi.
The following ten minutes were marked by dangerous chances on both sides of the field. By the 30th minute, Zamalek had about 65% of ball possession.
For the remainder of the first half, Zamalek’s players tried to reinforce their supremacy, but were unsuccessful.
In the 44th minute, a member of Étoile du Sahel coaching staff was sent off and escorted off the pitch by a police officer for arguing with the fourth official.
Zamalek once again kicked off the game with effervescent play, creating a chance as early as the 48th minute.
However, Hazem Emam’s cross from the right flank was too powerful for Bassem Morsi.
In the 54th minute, Shennawy saved a shot from Bounejah to keep the White Castle in the game.
One minute later, Omar Gaber won Zamalek a penalty after a handball by an Étoile du Sahel player. Kahraba stepped up and calmly placed the ball in the middle of the goal.
In the 59th minute, Zamalek bolstered their attack as Ahmed Hassan Mekki came on for Ayman Hefny. Étoile du Sahel’s first substitution saw Marwan Taj replace Youssef Msekni in the 60th minute.
Five minutes later, Franck Kom was subbed on for Aymen Trabelsi. In the 68th minute, Moustafa Fathi was substituted for Gomaa.
Just two minutes after coming onto the field, Fathi forced an Étoile du Sahel own goal from a free kick to make the score 3-0 for Zamalek.
In the 75th minute, Marwan Tej was sent off for a second booking, barely staying on the pitch for 15 minutes.
Zamalek’s players pushed forward in the last 15 minutes, thus inviting several counter attacks, but Shennawy, Dewidar, and Koffi minimized the danger.
The referee added five minutes of extra time that saw a header from Bassem Morsi’s go wide and a powerful shot from Moustafa Fathi saved by the Étoile du Sahel keeper, but no goals.
With this win, Zamalek hand Étoile their biggest loss in their CAF Confederations Cup campaign this season. The Tunisians await the result of the other semi final draw between Al Ahly and Orlando Pirates – which will kick off 20:30 Egypt time on Sunday – to see who the club will be facing in the final.