VIDEO: AC Leopards delay Zamalek’s passage to Confederation Cup semis
Zamalek’s formation witnessed the absences of Ayman Hefny, Ibrahim Salah and Ahmed Tawfik, but included new signings Mohamed Ibrahim, Mohamed Adel Gomaa and Mohamed Salem as substitutes, while Egypt international Mahmoud Kahraba was given his full debut.
Zamalek SC XI: Mahmoud Abou-Gabal, Mohamed Koffi, Ali Gabr, Hamada Tolba (Mohamed Salem, ’90), Hazem Emam, Tarek Hamed, Omar Gaber (Mohamed Ibrahim, ’69), Mahmoud Kahraba, Mostafa Fathy (Mohamed Adel Gomaa, ’70), Moruf Yusuf, Bassem Morsi.
AC Leopards XI: Lawrence Ngomé Ngoe, Boris Moubio , Jean Patrick Abouna Ndzana, Dimitri Magnoléké Bissiki, Childran Miangounina, Carof Bakoua, Tresor Mukendi (Cisse, ’79), Césaire Gandzé, Kader Bidimbou, Junior Makiesse.
AC Leopards went into the match with almost nothing to lose after picking up one point in their first three games of Group B; however, they remained hopeful with their sights on the final qualification spot as they went all out on attack from kick-off. It didn’t last for long as Zamalek themselves threatened on the 5th minute with a shot from Bassem Morsi, but goalkeeper Lawrence Ngomé Ngoe comfortably saved it.
Leopards were still in control however, and replied with two very dangerous chances in the 18th and 27th minute; both from the same player, Césaire Gandzé. One of those chances came from a cross that passed the entire Zamalek defence before Gandzé followed up with a shot that went over crossbar. The second was shot from the edge of the box, but it also missed the target as AC Leopards kept pressing for the breakthrough. The two sides went into half-time with the score goalless, and Mohamed Abou-Gabal’s goal relatively unthreatened.
The home side started the second half hungrier than the first as they were full of energy to score a goal. They didn’t waste time to restart their onslaught when Kader Bidimbou launched a shot from within the box on the 48th minute, but it was saved by Abou-Gabal.
Zamalek started to attack again in the 55th minute after a great effort from Mostafa Fathy, who passed it to new boy Kahraba, but the Egypt U-23 hitman missed a glorious chance to tap-in from close range, which left spectators stunned as it seemed to be the breakthrough.
AC Leopards finally broke the deadlock in the 61st minute through Tresor Mukendi after a powerful shot, as Zamalek’s centre-backs failed to apply any pressure on the Congolese forward.
Jesualdo Ferreira started to make use of their latest squad additions to try and help them score the equalizer. Bassem Morsi and Kahraba linked up on the counter-attack but Kahraba was once again guilty as he missed the one-on-one chance with the goalkeeper with ten minutes remaining.
AC Leopards players managed to slow down the tempo for the rest of the match and avoided conceding a goal from the Egyptian champions to secure the three points.
Leopards now have 4 points, while Zamalek remain on 9 – level with Orlando Pirates. Pirates and Zamalek are also both level on goal difference, but the Whites have advantage on head-to-head. Zamalek need just one point from their final two games to be able to qualify to the Confederation Cup semi-finals.
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