Saturday Oct 17, 2020. 11:00
Raja Casablanca will look to take their title-winning momentum into the first leg of their CAF Champions League semifinal clash with Zamalek, set for Stade Mohamed V on the evening of Sunday 18 October 2020, kick-off at 21:00 CAT.
The Green Eagles claimed a dramatic title triumph last weekend, defeating FAR Rabat 2-1 – thanks to a brace of goals from Abdelilah Hafidi – to end just one point ahead of arch rivals Wydad Casablanca (who will tackle Al Ahly in the other semifinal).
Raja manager Jamal Sellami allowed his team to celebrate their first Moroccan championship in seven years, but wants them focused and ready for the challenge offered by Zamalek.
“It was a great triumph for our club and our supporters,” said Sellami. “Now we must look to this semifinal against Zamalek – a great team, especially in the history of African competition. We will need to bring our best form but we look forward to this challenge.”
Zamalek were last in action on Monday, defeating Haras El Hodood in an Egyptian Premier League clash to tune up nicely for this trip to Morocco.
The White Knights suffered a major blow when manager Patrice Carteron resigned from his post a month ago, while they will head to Casablanca minus key man Ferjani Sassi, who is isolating after testing positive for Covid-19.
New manager Jaime Pacheco – who is in charge of Zamalek for the second time – has openly stated his aim to bring the Champions League trophy to the club for the first time since 2002.
“I am happy and proud to return back here. I returned this time with greater passion,” said the 62-year-old Portuguese. “I had a good group of players in my first spell [in 2014] with Zamalek and this time the group is excellent. My target is to win the African Champions League title.”
The most famous clash between Raja and Zamalek was in the final of the 2002 Champions League, with the Egyptian side emerging 1-0 victors over two legs for their fifth African crown.