Wednesday,18 October, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1307, (11- 17 August 2016)
Wednesday,18 October, 2017
Issue 1307, (11- 17 August 2016)

Ahram Weekly

Zamalek retain Egypt Cup

Bassem Morsi and co stun Ahly, reports Marawan Zayed

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Al-Ahram Weekly

It was déjà vu for Ahly players and fans as Bassem Morsi scored twice for the second year in a row in the Egyptian cup final to ensure the White Knights retained their trophy after beating their fierce rivals 3-1 in an entertaining game that saw Ahly finish with nine men.

Last year’s final ended in a 2-0 win for Zamalek when Morsi struck two first half goals to do all the damage but it seems that he wasn’t done yet as he once again scored two first half goals on Monday to put his team on track to retain the title. However, Morsi will this time have to thank his captain Shikabala who brilliantly set up the first goal of the game with a sublime long pass which evaded Saad Samir to give Morsi the golden chance of opening the scoring which he did in fine fashion.

The second goal of the game came after Samir fouled the once again impressive Shikabala inside the box to see the referee award a controversial penalty which Morsi slotted home confidently in the middle of the goal to give his side a 2-0 lead inside the first 25 minutes much to the shock of Ahly players and fans who surely predicted a different scenario.

Nevertheless, a very silly foul from Zamalek’s Islam Gamal on Ahly’s Amr Gamal inside the box saw the Red Devils awarded a correct penalty in the 33rd minute to give them hope of coming back into the game. Fan favourite Abdullah Al-Said converted the spot kick in confident fashion much to the delight of his manager Martin Jol who surely believed his team was set for a remarkable comeback against their biggest rivals.

The remaining time in the first half saw the Red Devils attack intensely as they tried to find an equaliser before half time but couldn’t do so as Zamalek’s goalkeeper Ahmed Al-Shinawi was up for anything that came his way especially from the dangerous Al-Said who saw two shots saved from Al-Shinawi in the last few minutes of the first half.

The second half started in similar fashion as Jol’s team seemed determined to find an equaliser as soon as possible but their finishing let them down more than once in some half chances in the first five minutes of the half until they missed the biggest chance of the game which turned out to be the turning point in the encounter. Al-Said had a decent chance to level the score when he was awarded a free kick 25 yards away from goal but he fooled everyone in the stadium and the pitch when he sent Mo’men Zakaria through on goal instead of shooting only to see Zakaria hit the crossbar with a fierce shot. Zakaria was gutted after missing such a chance as he clearly knew he should have found the back of the net after that splendid pass from Al-Said.

The damage was complete when 10 minutes later substitute Mustafa Fathi received a through ball from the magician Ayman Hefni inside the box to deceive the helpless Samir in brilliant style to go one on one with goalkeeper Ahmed Adel and finish expertly to restore the two-goal lead for his side once again. The goal came against the run of play as Ahly seemed very close to finding an equaliser which meant that the confidence of their players hit rock bottom when Fathi scored in the 60th minute.

Even though Hossam Ghali and his team still had plenty of time to fight back and score the needed two goals they were clearly destroyed by that third goal as they lost their rhythm and started to lose every ball very easily until the players lost their cool. Captain Ghali was shown the red card in the 83rd minute after a second yellow card for a clumsy foul on star of the night Morsi before the reliable Ahmed Fathi saw red after a second yellow as well when he handled the ball on purpose in the 90th minute after seeing his first yellow two minutes earlier.

Zamalek players were clearly enjoying themselves and having fun in the final few minutes of the game as they passed the ball with ease against the nine Ahly players until the referee blew the whistle to signal the start of wild celebrations among Zamalek players who started celebrating their fourth cup title in a row and their second in a row against Ahly who last month had recaptured the league ahead of defending champions Zamalek.

Zamalek certainly deserved their victory as they were the better side for most of the game as Mo’men Suleiman managed the game superbly while on the other hand Dutchman Jol failed badly and will surely feel the pressure now after the stunning loss.

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