Zamalek’s Pacheco: Return game will still be tough

Zamalek’s Pacheco: Return game will still be tough
Zamalek coach Jaime Pacheco

by Graeme Jackson

Tuesday Oct 20, 2020. 14:00

Zamalek coach Jaime Pacheco insists that their CAF Champions League semifinal, second-leg clash with Raja Casablanca will be a tough match, despite enjoying a 1-0 advantage.

The White Knights claimed a priceless 1-0 away win in Morocco on Sunday night, thanks to a first-half strike from Achraf Bencharki, and are clear favourites to seal a final berth when the return game is played at the Borg El Arab Stadium on the night of Saturday 24 October.

With their local rivals Al Ahly in an even more advantageous position in the other semifinal against Wydad Casablanca, the prospect of a dream Cairo derby final is looking good, but Pacheco has warned Zamalek against taking anything for granted.

“I am very happy with the first-leg result but we haven’t reached the final yet,” Pacheco said in the wake of the match, as quoted by Ahram Online.

“We have to respect our opponent and to stay humble to achieve our mission and to reach the final.

“Raja played a good game, especially in the second half but we were more intelligent. We were lucky but in this kind of game you need to be lucky.”

The Portuguese boss paid tribute to his players, saying they punched above their weight after suffering from fatigue.

“Many thanks to the players. We played five games in a couple of weeks. They are very exhausted and they need some time of rest,” he added.

Goal-scorer Bencharki, who became Zamalek’s most prolific player in African competition with his ninth strike overall, also underlined the importance of keeping focused.

“We did a good job in Morocco and we realised a positive result; I hope to win the second leg to confirm our qualification for the final,” he stated.

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