All three Egyptian clubs advanced to the round of 32 in the African Champions League and African Confederation Cup, at times piling on the goals as if goals were going out of style.
Zamalek crushed Somalia’s Dekedaha 6-0 in their second leg match one week after Zamalek destroyed the Somalis 7-0 to advance with an aggregate of 13-0 in the Champions League.
Both legs were played in Alexandria in Borg El-Arab Stadium due to the unstable political situation in Somalia. For Zamalek, Dekedaha were an easy prey and it was a golden chance to test their newly imported Serbian head coach Milutin “Micho” Sredoijevic who has long experience with African teams, the most recent being South Africa’s giants Orlando Pirates. Zamalek found no difficulties in stifling their guests to set a date with Senegal’s Generation Foot next month in the round of 32.
Zamalek’s six-goal festival came through Mustafa Mohamed, Mahmoud Abdel-Razek, better known as Shikabala, Mahmoud Alaa and Mahmoud Abdel-Aziz.
Mustafa Mohamed opened the scoring on the 25th minute from Moroccan Achraf Bencharki’s pass. Seven minutes after the break Mohamed scored his second.
Shikabala added Zamalek’s third after 67 minutes. He returned six minutes later to add his second of the night and Zamalek’s fourth.
Defender Mahmoud Alaa wasted a penalty for Zamalek after 76 minutes, but from the rebound the hosts had another penalty, and Alaa made no mistake this time. And five minutes from time substitute Abdel-Aziz nailed a sizzler to end Dekedaha’s misery.
Generation Foot will face Zamalek in the round of 32 after overcoming LPRC Oilers of Liberia 3-1 on aggregate in the preliminary round.
In the same championship, Ahly of Egypt reached the Champions League second round after thrashing South Sudan Atlabara 9-0 at Borg El-Arab Stadium in Alexandria. The first game ended 4-0 for Ahly. Once again, the two games were played in Egypt because Atlabara does not have a good enough stadium.
So, the Red Devils qualified for the second round with an impressive and very unfootball-like score, 13-0 aggregate – exactly like arch-rivals Zamalek -- to meet Equatorial Guinea’s Cano Sport next month.
The nine goals past the South Sudan champions was a one-game African record for Ahly who have won the Champions League a record eight times.
The goals came through a hat-trick from Hussein Al-Shahat, a brace from Salah Mohsen and Hamdi Fathi, and a goal from Ahmed Fathi and an own goal from Atlabara’s Mustafa Selim.
After Uruguayan coach Martin Lasarte was sacked last week, Ahly was guided by Egyptian coach Mohamed Youssef.
Established in 2014, Cano Sport won the Equatorial Guinean league last season. They will play Ahly after overcoming Ethiopia’s Mekelle in the preliminary stage.
Cano Sport held Mekelle to a 1-1 away draw in the second leg on Sunday to go through with a 3-2 aggregate win.
In Africa’s second tier club competition, the Confederation Cup, Egyptian side Pyramids FC claimed a 1-0 away win over Etoile du Congo in the second leg to go through on their maiden appearance in the tournament.
Summer signing Eslam Issa scored the winner in the 32nd minute as Pyramids advanced with a 5-1 aggregate win after crushing Etoile du Congo 4-1 in the first leg in Cairo.
In the round of 32, Pyramids will face Algerian side Chabab Belouizdad who defeated CotonTchad 4-0 on aggregate.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 29 August, 2019 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly