VIDEO: Cairo giants Al-Ahly, Zamalek suffer Champions League defeats
Egypt’s remaining continental representatives Ahly and Zamalek suffered defeats to Orlando Pirates and AC Léopards in their respective Group A clashes on Sunday.
Today the second round of the CAF Champions league kicked-off with Al-Ahly hosting South Africa’s Orlando Pirates in El-Gouna while Zamalek visited Congo’s AC Léopards.
AC Léopards 1-0 Zamalek
Five-time African champions Zamalek, who were without a number of key players, lost 1-0 away to Congolese side AC Léopards in Group A of the CAF Champions League on Sunday.
The Whites started the first-half very brightly dominating possession in the first 10 minutes. Léopards began to play much better and began testing Zamalek’s second keeper Gennesh, who was covering for Abdel-Wahid El-Sayed after the Zamalek captain couldn’t make the trip to Congo after being denied travel clearances.
In the 37th minute Zamalek were reduced to ten men when Mahmoud Fathallah received a second yellow card for a handball inside the box, awarding Léopards a penalty. Tychique Ntela Kalema slotted home from 12 yards for the Congolese side to put them into the lead.
Zamalek went into the second half with great mentality and they were really looking for the equalizer. They played good football passing the ball around well, with Omar Gaber linking up play impressively. Zamalek were always vulnerable to the counter attack and it created a very open second half but Zamalek were unable to find an equalizer.
Al-Ahly 0-3 Orlando Pirates
South Africa’s Orlando Pirates, the only South African team to win the CAF Champions League, dealt Al-Ahly their worst-ever home defeat in Africa with a 3-0 win against the African champions in Gouna.
Al-Ahly were forced to play at the empty 12,000-seater stadium due to the security concerns in Cairo and Alexandria, after having their request to postpone the game in order to avoid playing during the fasting hours of Ramadan denied by CAF.
Midfielder Thandani Ntshumayelo gave Pirates the lead after eleven minutes following some poor defending from the hosts. Saad Samir and Ahmed Shedid were left watching Ntshumayelo latch onto a fine one-two inside the area before slotting past Ekramy.
Referee Mohamed Benouza whistled for a penalty in Ahly’s favour after Mohamed Abou-Treika was tripped inside the box, but Walid Soliman had his spot-kick saved by Pirates keeper Senzo Meyiwa.
Ahly’s lone striker Ahmed Abdel-Zaher was sent off just before the interval after receiving a red card for a two-footed lunge on a South African.
Pirates scored the second from the penalty spot 17 minutes from time after a clear foul by Ahmed Fathi. Jali sent Sherif Ekramy the wrong way to double the visitors’ lead.
Jali was at it again three minutes later, this time turning provider with a brilliant chipped-pass towards Myeni, who dodged Ekramy before making the score to 3-0 – Ahly’s worst-ever home defeat in Africa, and their first time conceding three goals at home since they lost 3-1 to Etoile Sahel in the second leg of the 2007 CAF Champions League final.
With this result, Orlando Pirates become the first South African side to beat an Egyptian team on home soil, and the second South African team to beat Al-Ahly after Platinum stars in 2008. In addition to this, the last time the Africa champions failed to score at home was in 2004, when they lost 1-0 to Hilal.
Zamalek will play Orlando Pirates and Ahly will visit Leopards in the next round of Group A fixtures in the CAF Champions League. Ahly and Zamalek are currently the bottom two in Group A, with 1 point each after a 1-1 draw with Al-Ahly in their first CAF Champions League game. Zamalek are above of their Cairo rivals on goal difference.
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