Thursday,23 November, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1238, (19 - 25 March 2015)
Thursday,23 November, 2017
Issue 1238, (19 - 25 March 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Mixed results for Egyptian teams in Africa

At least Ahly and Zamalek record impressive wins. Marawan Zayed reports

Ahmed Eid
Ahmed Eid
Al-Ahram Weekly

Both Egyptian giants Ahly and Zamalek recorded very impressive wins in the CAF Champions League and CAF Confederation Cup respectively.

First, Ahly travelled to Rwanda to face APR in very tough circumstances since all the local competitions in Egypt are suspended since last month following the death of 20 fans in a stampede in Cairo. No matter how many friendly games a club plays since the suspension of the league, it will always be very different than playing competitive games. It showed at the start of the game as reported by the press since Saturday’s game wasn’t aired anywhere.

The home side was more dangerous and missed some half chances in the early stages of the game but without really threatening the goalkeeper. As the hosts’ early domination started to cool down Ahly responded with the best chance of the first half as new signing Ebimobowei missed a glorious chance to open his account for the club when he missed an open goal after rounding the goalkeeper from an amazing pass from Mo’men Zakaria.

The home side came very close to scoring a few minutes later but a great shot from distance evaded the top corner much to the relief of the visitors.

The second half witnessed some great football from the Egyptian giants and the much awaited goal arrived in the 65th minute via a dream strike from the captain Emad Meteb. The evergreen striker found the top corner with a sweetly struck left footed shot that saw the goalkeeper stranded in his place. Walid Suleiman, known as the Egyptian Messi, sealed the win with an equally brilliant goal that also found the top corner in the 84th minute.

The 2-0 away win puts Ahly in pole position regarding qualifying for the next round.

In the same competition, Semouha travelled to Nigeria to face African giants Enyimba and lost by a single goal after playing a brilliant 90 minutes. The Egyptian team lacks the experience needed to play in African competitions let alone the Champions League so it was expected by football pundits back in Egypt that Semouha could be in for a heavy defeat against one of the best teams in the history of the competition. But they defended brilliantly and could have went back to Egypt with a goalless draw but a goal for the home side in the 52nd minute separated the two sides.

Still, Semouha will surely fancy their chances in the second leg after a great first leg performance. The second leg for both Egyptian teams will be played on the 3 April.

Moving to the CAF Confederation Cup, Zamalek recorded a decent win at home in El Gouna against another opposition from Rwanda in the form of Rayon Sports. A 3-1 win is exactly what another Egyptian team suffering from the lack of competitive football back in Egypt needed and exactly what the new head coach, the Portuguese Ferreira, wanted in his first game with the club.

A converted penalty kick by Ahmed Eid in the 6th minute gave Zamalek and Ferreira the perfect start in the game. However, a few minutes later the visitors conceded a penalty but the brilliant Ahmed Al-Shenawi saved with his leg much to the delight of Ferreira.

The home side paid the price of missing the chance to equalise as they conceded two quick-fire goals with the first coming in the 37th minute through Ahmed Tawfik after a great run and Ahmed Eid who headed in his second of the game and third for his team to put the game beyond doubt.

The second half started in different fashion as the visitors sat back to defend their 3-0 but couldn’t do so for more than eight minutes as the hosts found the back of the net in the 54rd minute through a shot from distance.

The game was a one-sided affair in the second half and if it wasn’t for the brilliant Al-Shenawy the game could have ended in a draw or even a win for the home side but thankfully the game ended in a 3-1 win for the Egyptian giants which will surely make the second leg much easier for them.

Another Egyptian team in the form of Petrojet saw action in the same round as they faced Malian club Djoliba away from home once again to make it three away games out of four for all four Egyptian teams in African competition this week.

A very slow start by Petrojet saw them concede two goals in the first 20 minutes and suddenly their African dream seemed to be coming to end. However, the following 70 minutes witnessed a totally different performance and a consolation goal meant that the 2-1 defeat away from home isn’t a bad result after all.

The second leg for both Zamalek and Petrojet will be on 3 April as well.

Let’s hope all four Egyptian teams will manage to make it through to the next round.

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