Zamalek set up dream final against Al Ahly

Zamalek set up dream final against Al Ahly
Zamalek player Mostafa Mohamed in action

by Graeme Jackson

Wednesday Nov 04, 2020. 23:08

Zamalek have set up a dream CAF Champions League final against Cairo derby rivals Al Ahly later this month, after defeating Raja Casablanca 4-1 (5-1 on aggregate) in the second leg of their semifinal tie on Wednesday.

The White Knights looked in danger of giving up their strong position in the tie when Raja claimed the lead early in the second half, but the Cairo giants roared back and ended up winning in style by netting three goals in the dying minutes.

Raja created the first clear chance of the game, with a corner kick seeing Sanad Al Warfali heading on target in the 11th minute, but Zamalek goalkeeper Mohamed Abou-Gabal made a fine save.

That signalled a strong spell of dominance from the Moroccan visitors, who succeeded in forcing their hosts onto the back foot and creating several half-chances. This included a deflected cross in the 25th minute from Abdelilah Hafidi which was only kept out by a brilliant save from Abou-Gabal.

Despite their dominance, Raja were unable to find a way past the White Knights’ defence and the first half ended 0-0.

However, the Green Eagles picked up where they left off and finally broke through two minutes after the restart, with Ben Malango netting with a deflected shot which wrong-footed Abou-Gabal, making it 1-0 on the night and 1-1 overall.

The goal seemed to wake Zamalek up, with the Egyptian side clicking through the gears to begin piling the pressure on Raja.

The hosts levelled the game and reclaimed the aggregate lead in the 62nd minute, as Ferjani Sassi exchanged passed with Achraf Bencharki before sending a beautiful effort into the net via the inside of the post.

With the tie very much in the balance, both teams began pushing forward in attack, but it was the White Knights who struck the key blow on 85 minutes, as Mostafa Mohamed got on the end of a great cross from Ahmed Zizo and powered home a header to make it 2-1 on the night and 3-1 overall.

Mohamed netted again four minutes later to kill off Raja’s hopes, chesting down a long ball, breaking free of the defence and firing a low shot past goalkeeper Mohamed Bouamira, while Bencharki put the cherry on top with another strike deep in injury time to make it 4-1 at the full time whistle and 5-1 on aggregate.

Zamalek (0) 4 (Sassi 62’, Mohamed 85’ 89’, Bencharki 90+4’)

Raja Casablanca (0) 1 (Malango 47’)

Zamalek won 5-1 on aggregate

Zamalek: Mohamed Abou-Gabal, Ahmed Eid, Mahmoud Alaa, Mahmoud Hamdi, Abdallah Gomaa, Tarek Hamed (Shikabala 90+4’), Eslam Gaber, Ferjani Sassi, Ahmed Zizo, Achraf Bencharki, Mostafa Mohamed (Kabongo Kasongo 90+3’)

Raja: Mohamed Bouamira, Badr Benoun, Sanad Al Warfali, Abdelilah Madkour (Abderrahim Achchakir 75’), Fabrice Ngah, Omar Arjoune (Fabrice Ngoma 66’), Zakaria El Wardi, Abdelilah Hafidi, Mohsine Moutaouali (Mahmoud Benhalib 66’), Soufiane Rahimi, Ben Malango

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