Thursday,23 May, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1427, (24 - 30 January 2019)
Thursday,23 May, 2019
Issue 1427, (24 - 30 January 2019)

Ahram Weekly

A win and a riot

Zamalek are through to the group stage of the African Confederation Cup but in another tournament, crowd violence spelled trouble for Ismaili, reports Abeer Anwar


Zamalek vs Ittihad Tanger (photo: Ahmed Abdel-Karim)
Zamalek vs Ittihad Tanger (photo: Ahmed Abdel-Karim)

Zamalek of Egypt booked their place in the group phase of the African Confederation Cup after a 3-1 victory over Morocco’s Ittihad Tanger in Alexandria in their second play-off match.

However, Ismaili, another Egyptian club, had their African Champions League match abandoned by the referee after crowd violence.

The reward for Zamalek joining the group stage of the tournament was a relatively easy Group D but which includes Algerian heavyweight Nasr Athletic Hussein Dey.

Amongst the other teams to advance in the Confederation Cup on Saturday were Zambia’s Zesco United who knocked out Kaizer Chiefs of South Africa and Angolans Petro Atletico who defeated Mali’s Stade Malien.

After a goalless first leg draw in Morocco, Zamalek’s players looked more relaxed at home.

Ibrahim Hassan put the White Knights ahead on the stroke of half-time but Nouaman Aarab levelled the score for Ittihad with a blast of a shot on the 50th minute.

Omar Al-Said gave Zamalek the lead with a wonderful half-turn shot with his back to goal just a few minutes later. Five minutes before time, teammate Youssef Ibrahim struck a third for Zamalek after dancing around the defence and chipping over the goalkeeper for a 3-1 aggregate win.

“We are very happy with the result and we trust our players and technical team that they will take the club to the top and reach the finals of the Confederation Cup,” Ahmed Galal Ibrahim, deputy of Zamalek Club, said. “This victory also gives us a push before our national league match against Pyramids which we want to win.”

Ibrahim, nicknamed Obama for his resemblance to the former US president, said, “we give this victory to our club and fans who have always backed us in all situations and we promise to exert our utmost effort to win this year’s Confederation Cup.”

In the draw for the Confederation Cup that took place at CAF headquarters in Cairo, five-time African champion Zamalek led the line-up in Group D. The rest are Kenyan champions Gor Mahia, Petro Atletico of Angola and Algeria’s NA Hussein Dey.

Holders Raja Club Athletic were drawn in the same group with fellows RS Berkane and Hassania Agadir in Group A together with Congolese champions AS Otoho, completing the quartet. Group A has three teams from Morocco, a near similar situation in Group B and Group C, with two teams from the same countries. Tunisian duo Etoile du Sahel and CS Sfaxien are in Group B alongside Enugu Rangers of Nigeria and surprise packets, Salitas, from Burkina Faso.

In Group C, Zambia has two clubs – Nkana and Zesco, with Asante Kotoko (Ghana) and Hilal (Sudan) the other teams.

Former Cameroon forward Patrick Mboma assisted the draw process conducted by CAF Deputy General Secretary Anthony Baffoe.

In other Confederation matches, Kaizer Chiefs from South Africa and Zambian side Zesco United in Soweto had the visitors winning 2-1 to proceed 5-2 on aggregate.

Burkina Faso will be represented in the group phase after Academy side Salitas enjoyed a 3-1 victory over Libyan visitors Al-Nasr in Ouagadougou.

In Luanda, Angola’s Petro Atletico defeated Stade Malien of Mali 2-1 to go through 3-2 overall, and Sudan’s Al-Hilal also progressed despite losing 1-0 away to Rwanda’s Mukura Victory. Hilal won 3-1 on aggregate.

Also through were Renaissance Berkane of Morocco who overwhelmed ASC Jaraaf of Senegal 5-1 at home in their play-off second leg. Moreover, Hassania Agadir hammered Jimma Aba Jifar of Ethiopia 4-0.

Zamalek will play Gor Mahia FC on 3 February, then will face Hussein Dey on 13 February before playing Atletico Petroleos de Luanda on 24 of the same month.

The White Knights start the second leg games on 3 March by playing Atletico Petroleos then facing Gor Mahia on 10 March before finishing the group stage games by playing Hussein Dey on 17 March.

Zamalek have never won the Confederation Cup.

In the African Champions League group stage, Egypt’s Ahly drew 1-1 away with Algerian side JS Saoura 1-1 but lost star midfielder Walid Suleiman, 34, their key player and playmaker.

Khaled Mahmoud, Ahly’s team physician announced on the club’s Website that Suleiman may need to undergo knee surgery after he suffered a cartilage injury. “Scans on Sunday revealed that Walid is suffering from an interior knee ligament injury and also a minor cartilage injury,” Mahmoud said.  

Suleiman thus joined the long list of Ahly players who have been sidelined due to injury, including Marawan Mohsen, Walid Azaro and Ahmed Fathi.

Ahly formed no real attack on the opponents and allowed them to open the scoring through Yahia Cherif in the 59th minute. But in the 79th minute midfielder Karim Walid tied for the Red Devils. In spite of Ahly’s new signings Ramadan Sobhi and Hussein Al-Shahat, the team still lacked lustre.

Still, after the draw, Ahly topped Group D with four points while JS Saoura tailed the group with just one point.

Martin Lasarte, Ahly’s newly appointed Uruguay head coach, believed that Friday’s Champions League draw with JS Saoura was a fair result. “The game was a balanced one and the result was a fair one,” Lasarte was quoted in the post-match press conference as saying.

“Our opponents were better in the second half and they managed to score a goal and that kindled us to score the equaliser,” added Lasarte. “We came to Algeria amid many absentees in our squad due to injuries.”

There was trouble in another Champions League game that included Ismaili, another club from Egypt. In Friday’s Group C match between hosts Ismaili and Tunisia’s Club Africain in stoppage time, the referee abandoned the game after sections of the crowd threw water bottles onto the pitch.

The Cameroonian referee halted the match as there had been a number of crowd-related stoppages before the premature end, with Club Africain leading 2-1.

Ismaili took an early lead when Namibian Benson Shilongo scored but the fans were infuriated by the Cameroonian referee’s decision to count two penalty kicks in favour of Club Africain who turned them into goals by Ghazi Ayadi to move ahead 2-1. The crowds were infuriated as the referee initially awarded a free-kick before altering his decision after consulting with an assistant

Ismaili coaching staff and officials tried valiantly to calm the fans down but their efforts were not enough. Ismaili awaits what is certain to be punitive measures taken by CAF.

Ismailia is one of the cities that will host this year’s Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.

On another front, Ismaili lost one of the best defensive midfielders in the history of Egyptian football, superstar Hosni Abd Rabo who announced his retirement last week after a 17-year career with the Egyptian National Team and his club.

Born on 1 November 1984, Abd Rabo started his career with Ismaili at age 12. In 2002 he was promoted to the first team, and won the Egyptian Premier League title in his first season with the club. With Ismaili he reached the 2003 CAF Champions League final before losing to Nigeria’s Enyimba 2-1 on aggregate, scoring his side’s lone goal.

In 2005 Abd Rabo joined French side Strasbourg before returning to Ismaili the following summer. He also played for UAE side Ahly Dubai in 2008, winning the UAE League and Super Cup and making an appearance in the 2008 FIFA Club World Cup. Abd Rabo also played for Saudi side Al-Nassr in 2012.

With the Junior Pharaohs, Abd Rabo won the 2003 U-20 Africa Cup of Nations in Burkina Faso. After missing Egypt’s home victory in the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations, Abd Rabo won the 2008 AFCON title with the Pharaohs in Ghana, and was named the Man of the Tournament after some stellar performances. He went on to add another Cup of Nations title with Egypt in Angola 2010. He scored 16 goals in 99 caps with the Pharaohs.

In other Champions League games, Tunisia’s Esperance continued their centenary celebrations with a 2-0 win over visitors FC Platinum of Zimbabwe.

Later on Friday, Orlando Pirates went top of Group B, above Esperance on goal difference, with a 3-0 win over Horoya of Guinea in South

add comment

  • follow us on