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VIDEO: Zamalek keep Champions League hopes alive with win over Pirates

claimed a 2-1 narrow victory over Orlando Pirates in El-Gouna to revive their hopes of reaching the Champions League semi-finals.

Zamalek headed into the game needing no less than a win to keep their chances of making the semis, Orlando Pirates were also seeking a victory to confirm their place in the last four of the best club competition in Africa.

Zamalek starting XI: Abdel-Wahed El-Sayed; Hamada Tolba, Salah Soliman, Mahmoud Fathalla, Mohamed Abdel-Shafy; Omar Gaber, Ahmed Tawfik, Nour El-Sayed, Ahmed Eid; Shikabala, Ahmed Gaafar.
Orlando Pirates starting XI: Meyiwa, Jele, Matlaba, Mahamutsa, Lekgwathi, Masalesa, Manyisa, Segolela, Klate, Myeni, Bacela.

Cairo giants Zamalek recorded their first win in this season’s group stages after a 2-1 victory over South African side Orlando Pirates, who thrashed the White Knights 4-1 at home a fortnight ago.

Zamalek took the lead in early on from the penalty spot after Orlando Pirates captain and centre-back Lucky Lekgwathi bought down Mahmoud Abdel-Razak ‘Shikabala’ in the box. Ahmed Eid made no mistake and sent Senzo Meyiwa the wrong way to put Zamalek 1-0 six minutes into the first half.

Despite taking the lead, Zamalek found it difficult to carve out goal scoring opportunities and Pirates were starting to exploit Zamalek’s defensive frailties when an onrushing Bacela skipped past the hapless Salah Soliman and fired a low shot that went straight into the near post, leaving Abdul-Wahed El-Sayed with no chance to level the score in the 33rd minute.

The half finished level but Zamalek managed to restore their lead in the 51st minute from an Omar Gaber corner which Meyiwa failed to collect while Salah Soliman at the far post nodded home Zamalek’s second goal, which ended up being the winner.

Zamalek had more opportunities to extend their lead when a Gaafar curling effort went just above the crossbar. Pirates pushed late on for an equalizer but Zamalek managed to hold on for their first win in the Champions’ League group stage under new manager Helmy Toulan.

This is also Zamalek’s first win in a Champions’ League group stage match since 2008 when they managed to defeat Dynamos of Harare five years ago.

These results means that any of the four teams in Group A can still make the last four as Zamalek now have 4 points, Pirates top the group with 7 points, Al Ahly also on 7 after their win against AC Leopards – who have four points – yesterday.

Zamalek next play Al Ahly in two weeks time in a fierce Cairo Derby knowing they need all 3 points to increase their chances of making the semi-finals.

Abdul Musa is a Sudanese football fanatic living in England. Passionate Al Hilal Omdurman and Manchester United supporter who closely follows football across Europe and Africa and writes for various websites including KingFut. African footballing aficionado, Pep Guardiola enthusiast, currently studying BSc Chemistry at University.

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