Friday Feb 28, 2020. 20:19
Zamalek thrashed Esperance de Tunis 3-1 in the CAF Champions League quarter-final first-leg match at Cairo International Stadium on Friday evening.
The Egyptian giants will be away to Tunisian champions Esperance in the second-leg clash in Rades on March 6.
The Blood and Gold managed to contain the hosts in the opening stages of the encounter and they grew in confidence as it progressed.
The visitors broke the deadlock three minutes before the half-hour mark through Abdelraouf Benguit after the Zamalek defence was exposed.
Hamadou Elhouni set-up Benguit, who made no mistake as he beat Mohamed Abougabal in the Zamalek goal-posts to make it 1-0 Esperance.
However, the lead only lasted for four minutes as the White Knights restore parity through their Moroccan attacker Mohammed Ounajem.
Ounajem found some space outside the Zamalek box and he unleashed a thunderous shot which beat Esperance goalkeeper Moez Ben Cherifia to make it 1-1.
Mahmoud Alaa had a chance to hand Zamalek the lead for the first time, but the defender hit the woodwork and the score was 1-1 at half-time.
The White Knights pushed for their second goal of the match after the restart and they had a chance to score through Mostafa Mohamed.
However, the 22-year-old centre forward fired a weak effort at Ben Cherifia, who made a comfortable save.
Zamalek did get the goal they had been looking for when Moroccan attacker Achraf Bencharki netted with a low shot to make it 2-1 to the hosts in the 72nd minute.
Things went from bad to worse for Esperance as they were reduced to 10 players when Mohamed Romdhane received his second yellow card and he was sent off.
The defending champions were unable to contain the hosts, who were awarded a late penalty which converted by Alaa to seal Zamalek’s 3-1 win over Esperance.
Zamalek (1) 3 (Ounajem 31′, Bencharki 72′, Alaa 90’+4)
Esperance (1) 1 (Benguit 27′)
Zamalek: Abougabal, Shafy, Hamdi, Alaa, Emam, Zizo (Gomaa 83′), Hamed, Sassi, Ounajem (Shikabala 81′), Mohamed (Kassongo 90′), Bencharki.
Esperance: Ben Cherifia, Chetti (Chemmam 21′), Yacoubi, Dhaouadi, Mbarki, Coulibaly, Romdhane, Elhouni, Benguit, Hamdouda (Meziane 62′), Ouattara (Sghaier 88′).