Zamalek captured the Egypt Football Cup for the sixth time in the last seven seasons after beating upstarts Pyramids FC 3-0 in Borg Al-Arab Stadium in Alexandria on Sunday night.
Youssef Ibrahim, better known as Obama, scored the opener in the second half to give Zamalek the lead. Achraf Bencharki, Zamalek’s Moroccan winger who joined from Saudi side Al-Hilal in the summer, netted two goals to blank Pyramids who were playing in the final in their first season in the league.
Zamalek fans celebrated till the early morning hours in the club and outside, driving their cars around the club in Mohandessin district singing, cheering, dancing and honking.
Zamalek displayed their mastery in front of Pyramids FC that had held the defending champions scoreless after the half.
The win gave Zamalek’s new Serbian coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic his first triumph at the helm.
Winning the Egypt Cup and the African Confederation Cup in May also made up for Zamalek’s loss of the Egyptian league title to arch-rivals Ahly.
Zamalek took their tally to 27 Egypt Cup titles, nine behind Ahly who could only win the secondary domestic competition once in the last 12 years.
The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) had agreed to allow 20,000 fans into Borg Al-Arab Stadium which can hold over 80,000. The limited number of spectators was due to security reasons.
Pyramids FC, formerly known as Al-Assiouty Sport, reached their first ever final of a major competition, in this case the Egypt Cup, after beating Petrojet 2-0 on Monday last week.
Zamalek booked their place in the final after overcoming Ittihad of Alexandria 1-0.
The White Knights are the cup holders after beating Smouha 5-4 on penalties last year.
Sunday’s match was a clash of two new foreign coaches for the teams: Sredojevic and the French tactician Sebastien Desabre.
Following the victory, Sredojevic said his side are on the right track. “I am very happy with this victory,” Sredojevic told the press after the game. “It was a difficult test against a tough opponent who produced a strong performance. The win confirmed that we are on the right track after three weeks of work.”
Romanian referee Radu Marian Petrescu officiated the game after Pyramids FC requested a foreign referee.
The 36-year old official, who became a FIFA international referee in 2012, most recently officiated the Champions League second qualifying round game between Ferencvaros of Hungary and Valletta of Malta in August. In June he officiated a Euro 2020 qualifier between Ireland and Gibraltar.
During his seven-year international career Petrescu has never been in charge of a major game, mostly officiating qualifying rounds in the Champions League or group stage games in the Europa League.