VIDEO: Zamalek slip to third in CL group after 2-0 defeat against USM Alger
Egyptian side Zamalek suffered a 2-0 defeat against USM Alger in the CAF Champions League group stage in Algeria on Thursday.
Bassem Morsy arguably had the best chance for Zamalek just five minutes after kick-off, but his weak shot was easily cleared off the line by the USM Alger defense. The Algerian side replied two minutes later as Oussama Darfalou almost scored a header from an excellent cross but his ball went just above the crossbar.
From there, the game opened up and both sides saw their chances either cleared by the defenders or dealt with by the goalkeepers.
However, Reda Bellahcène opened the scoring for USM Alger just one minute before half-time following a free kick from Mokhtar Benmoussa.
Zamalek manager Augusto Inácio made his side’s first substitution right after the break by introducing Salah Rico in place of Ahmed Tawfik.
The 2016 CAF Champions League finalists came close to scoring an equaliser just four minutes after the restart but Nigerian striker Stanley Ohawuchi missed a free header from point-blank. Around 10 minutes later, Malagasy forward Carolus Andriamatsinoro wasted a chance to double his side’s lead when he missed the target from close range.
Both teams then had to continue the game with a man down as Tarek Hamed was shown his second yellow card and was sent off for a challenge on former Al Ahly player Amir Sayoud, who saw a direct red for retaliating with a push around the one-hour mark.
Zamalek continued to push for an equaliser with Mahmoud Abdel-Razek Shikabala getting a clear shot inside the box but the USM Alger defense cleared it off the line. Meanwhile, the hosts wasted a chance to double their lead as White Castle’s keeper Ahmed El-Shennawy saved a header from a corner-kick to keep the score at 1-0.
Inacio then introduced Mostafa Fathi instead of Hosni Fathi before Emmanuel Mayuka came on to replace Stanley Ohawuchi.
Hosts’ keeper Mohamed Zemmamouche produced fine saves, denying Mostafa Fathi and Shikabala before Abderrahmane Meziane missed an opportunity to double his side’s lead when he skipped past two Zamalek players yet failed to score after going one-on-one with El-Shennawy.
Just two minutes later, Meziane added his side’s second goal in the Group B clash to secure the victory through a beautiful curler into the far post.
The win puts USM Alger on top of Group B level on seven points with Libya’s Ahli Tripoli after four matches. Zamalek dropped to third place with five points, two above CAPS United who suffered a 4-2 defeat against Ahli Tripoli.
The Cairo giants will next travel to Zimbabwe to face CAPS United in a crucial match before hosting Ahli Tripoli in their final group stage match in July.
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