Thursday,19 July, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1241, (9-15 April 2015)
Thursday,19 July, 2018
Issue 1241, (9-15 April 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Zakaria’s Ahly account

Marawan Zayed reports on Egypt’s four-team participation in the Champions League and the Confederation Cup

Al-Ahram Weekly

Ahly’s January signing from arch-rival Zamalek, Mo’men Zakaria finally scored his first goals, and well-deserved strikes, when he netted a brace as Ahly defeated Rwandan side APR 2-0 in the second leg of round 32 of the CAF Champions league.
The result was a repeat of the first leg’s result to make the aggregate 4-0 to the Egyptian giants. The result will be very pleasing for Ahly but Zakaria’s goals will be even more pleasing for the club and its fans. Zakaria had been a revelation since joining the club and his performances earned him a place in the national set-up with Argentinean Hector Cuper so it was about time he found the back of the net for his new club.
The first goal came in the 31st minute via a great diving header from Hussein Al-Sayed’s magnificent cross while the second came three minutes after the interval when Zakaria controlled the ball inside the six yards after the keeper saved from Saad Samir and slotted the ball home after deceiving the goalkeeper and two defenders in style.
The score line could have been much higher as Ahly players missed a host of chances throughout the game but it mattered little at the end of the day as the club sealed its place in the next round with ease.
Juan Carlos Garrido, Ahly’s Spanish manager, praised the character of his team and reserved special mention for Zakaria. “Mo’men’s performance and two goals weren’t a surprise to me as the boy is a very, very special talent,” Garrido said, adding, “Whether he scores or not, we believe in him and rate him very highly and today he just proved to his critics he’s worthy of a place in the starting eleven of Ahly.”
Still in the CAF Champions League, the incredible Semouha did the unexpected and defeated Enyimba 2-0 in Alexandria to follow Ahly to round 16 of the competition. The first leg ended in a 1-0 win for the Nigerian and African giants and it was described by Egyptian experts and pundits as a tremedous result by the Egyptian side.
However, the coastal side was not just looking for a good performance against Enyimba but seemed keen to seal a place in round 16 which arrived in the last five minutes. It was 0-0 until the 85th minute when former Ahly player Hany Al-Egeizi who came off the bench earlier, converted a penalty to level the score for his side before a 93rd goal by Herman Kouao sealed its place in the next round without extra time or penalty kicks, much to the delight of Egyptian fans in general and Semouha fans in specific.
The result will definitely be seen as a surprise of the round given the status of Enyimba, which won the championship in 2003 and 2004, but credit to Semouha which played till the last minute of the second game for its reward.

Semouha will now face AC Leopards of the Congo in round 16.
Moving to the CAF Confederation Cup, an emphatic performance saw Zamalek defeat another Rwandan side in the form of Rayon Sports 3-0 away from home to seal its place in round 16 of the competition.
The first leg in Cairo ended in a 3-1 win for the Egyptian giants and an even more impressive performance in Rwanda saw Zamalek kill any remaining hopes the Rwandan side might have harboured.
The game started with pressure from the home side hoping to score an early goal that would unbalance the visitors but they fell short as Zamalek defended well and were very organised tactically, even missing some dangerous chances on the counterattack in the first half hour, until the first goal arrived in the 32nd minute. The evergreen Ahmed Eid Abdel-Malek received the ball inside the box and sent an unstoppable shot into the top corner to put his side in pole position for qualification. The home side now needed three goals to draw level and it showed in its performance as they started to play with anger and aggressiveness.
However, that would not prevent Zamalek from adding another two goals in quick succession in the second half, first through Ali Gabr in the 53rd minute as he headed in Hazem Emam’s corner before captain Ibrahim Salah added the third three minutes later to score his first goal of the season. The game was all Zamalek in the second half and it could have added a fourth when Marouf Youssef hit the post with a powerful shot. The 6-1 win aggregate sealed Zamalek’s place in round 16 in which its next opponent will be Moroccan side Fath Rabat.
Still in the CAF Confederation Cup, Petrojet wasted a huge chance to follow Zamalek to round 16 as it bowed out of the competition when it played out a goalless draw with Malian side Djoliba after losing 2-1 away from home. The first leg result meant that a single goal by the Egyptian side in the second leg would have meant qualification.

Petrojet had its fair share of chances and came very close to scoring on more than four occasions but the goalkeeper was in great form and unfortunately that much needed goal never arrived as the petroleum side was the only Egyptian squad to bow out of the African tournaments.

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