By Eduard Cousin
Al-Zamalek defeated the Sudanese team Al-Hilal in the second match of the group stage of the CAF Champions League on Saturday. Left-back Mohamed Abdel-Shafy secured the win for the White Knights scoring 2-1 with a volley in the 81st minute.
The game was played in an empty Air Defence Stadium in Cairo, as supporters are not allowed to attend for security reasons. The Cairo giants were in need of the three points, as they lost their first match in Group A to AS Vita (2-1), the first defeat of this year’s campaign.
The squad of head coach Ahmed ‘Mido’ Hossam started aggressively, which resulted in an early lead when Dominique da Silva scored a header after a cross from Abdel-Shafy. Al-Zamalek did not enjoy the lead for long, as half way into first half Mudather El Taher managed to level the score for the Sudanese side, after an awful mistake by Al-Zamalek defender Yasser Ibrahim.
It was only for a brilliant volley from just outside the penalty area by Abdel-Shafy ten minutes before the game’s end that the White Knights secured the much needed victory.
All four teams in Group A have gathered three points so far, leaving the competition to reach the next round wide open. Al-Zamalek stands last in the group as they conceived the most goals with a goal balance of 3-3.
In the Confederation Cup, Al-Ahly held Etoile Sportive du Sahel at bay in a 1-1 draw in Tunisia on Sunday. After the Tunisian side took the lead in the first half, Al-Ahly drew level through a goal from Amr Gamal in the 60th minute.
Al-Ahly were missing several key players from the squad due to injuries. The Red Devils lost another player during the match as striker Mohamed ‘Gedo’ Nagy injured his knee, leaving him out of action for around six months.
The Cairo team leads Group B in the tournament with four points, two points ahead of second place ES Sahel.
Al-Zamalek will face TP Mazembe from the Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday 8 June, while Al-Ahly plays against Sewe Sport in Ivory Coast on the same day.