Zamalek hang on for first African Champions League win

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CAIRO: Zamalek survived two late scares to edge Dynamos of Zimbabwe 1-0 Sunday and collect their first points in the 2008 African Champions League group phase.

Giantkillers Dynamos exposed five-time African champions Zamalek with a swift break five minutes from full-time before a capacity 35,000 crowd at the Military Academy Stadium in the Egyptian capital.

But hesitant Edward Sadomba had a shot blocked and when the visitors regained possession, goalkeeper Mohamed Abdel-Monsef parried a drive to the feet of a team-mate who cleared.

It was a Group A clash Zamalek just deserved to win after making a dream start as defender Amr Al-Safty pounced on a loose ball following a corner to side-foot the White Knights into a fourth-minute lead.

The woodwork foiled Al-Safty, team-mate Gamal Hamza and Sadomba in a lively match that produced plenty of scoring opportunities for teams likely to vie for second place with ASEC of Ivory Coast behind favorites Al-Ahly.

Ahly forced a 0-0 draw with dominant ASEC in Abidjan Saturday to stay top of the table with four points, Dynamos and Zamalek have three each and ASEC one after two of six rounds.

Success was huge relief for Zamalek coach Reiner Hollmann, the German charged with making the Knights a force again after four years in the long shadow of Ahly at domestic and international level.

They lost 2-1 to Ahly in the opening round of Champions League fixtures two weeks ago and suffered another defeat against their bitter rivals in the Egypt Super Cup last Sunday.

Wild finishing will concern Hollmann most although the return of injured Ghana striker Junior Agogo should add bite to an attack that did not trouble Dynamos goalkeeper Willard Manyatera sufficiently.

In the mid-August third round, Zamalek host ASEC and Ahly will enjoy home advantage over Dynamos, who shocked title holders Etoile Sahel of Tunisia in the final qualifiers for the pool phase. -AFP

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