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VIDEO: Étoile thrash Zamalek 5-1 to place one foot in the final

Photo: Étoile du Sahel Official Twitter

Photo: Étoile du Sahel Official Twitter

Étoile seized a four-goal advantage against the Egyptian Premier League champions, to all but seal their passage into the CAF Confederation Cup final. 

Zamalek were not able to repeat their Egyptian Cup heroics last week to propel them into the CAF Confederation Cup final but a shaky backline saw Étoile du Sahel take down the Whites 5-1 in front of a home crowd at Olympique de Sousse Stadium in Tunisia.

The Whites came into the match missing several key players and will have to overcome a four-goal deficit leading into the second leg match next week in Cairo.


Zamalek XI: Ahmed El-Shennawy, Sherif Hazem, Ali Gabr, Mohamed Koffi, Hamada Tolba, Tarek Hamed, Omar Gaber, Moruf Yusuf, Ayman Hefny, Mahmoud Kahraba, Baseem Morsi.

Étoile du Sahel XI: Aymen Mathlouthi, Ghazi Abderrazak, Ammar Jemal, Saddam Ben Aziza, Hamdi Nagguez, Alaya Brigui, Aymen Trabelsi, Marouane Taj, Hamza Lahmar, Iheb Msakni, Baghdad Bounedjah.

First Half

The only silver lining for Zamalek’s first half performance came off a rocket by Aymen Hefny and the prospect of not trailing by a wider margin at the end of 45 minutes.

Étoile dominated the first half and quickly dispatched Zamalek’s lethargic backline early and often.

In the fourth minute, they opened the scoring when an unmarked Marouane Taj rifled a low shot from a cross past Shennawy, bringing the Red Devils up 1-0.

The early offensive onslaught did not slow down for the home team.

In the ninth minute, Étoile striker Baghdad Bounedjah notched his fourth goal of the tournament after he won a footrace for the ball against Shennawy who left his line. Bounedjahand was able to get enough on his shot to slide it into lower left corner.

Hamada Tolba looked visibly upset after conceding both goals that were scored on his side of the pitch. Throughout the first half the midfielder had trouble marking players in the box and almost coughed up a third goal later on.

Zamalek’s midfield and backline woes continued throughout most of the first half as they were out-controlled by their opponents.

With the match quickly spiraling out of control, Zamalek eventually woke up in the 24th minute when Aymen Hefny sent an absolute howler off the edge of the box that took Étoile keeper Aymen Mathlouthi by surprise as it curled into the top corner to bring the score to a manageable 2-1.

Despite the new offensive momentum for the visiting side, the Reds continued to punish Zamalek’s flustered defense.

In the 34th minute, Iheb Msakni sent beautiful cross over two Zamalek defenders that found the head of Alaya Brigui who was racing into the box and gave Étoile a 3-1 edge.

Bounedjah nearly buried his second goal that went off the top bar before the end of a first half the Whites would be keen to put behind them.

Coming into today’s match, Zamalek allowed only four goals since the group stage, while leading other clubs with 12 goals scored.

Second Half

Zamalek coach Jesualdo Ferreira opted to not substitute any of its players going into the second half despite the lackluster midfield and defensive performance.

Shortly after kick-off, Moruf Yusuf was lifted for Mostafa Fathi, who would later have a chance to bring the Egyptian squad back into to contention.

Each club took a more defensive approach early into the second half, with both sides cautioning a conceded goal.

Zamalek missed an open net during a scramble for the ball in the 54th minute and would miss out again in the 68th minute when Fathi sent a rocket outside of the box that sent Mathlouthi reaching into the sky to bring it down.

With 10 minutes remaining in the match, the Whites brought on Ahmed Hamoudi to replace Hefny, but the adjustment came too late for the Egyptian side.

In less than five minutes a part, Marouane Taj sent a screamer into the back of the net for his second followed shortly by Saddam Ben Aziza in the 87th minute.

Zamalek were unable to notch a compensatory goal to shorten the aggregate tally, which stood 5-1 at the final whistle.

The two teams will square off next Saturday at Petrosport stadium in Cairo. Al Ahly and Orlando Pirates will face off the following day.

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