Zamalek of Egypt were forced to put on ice a possible trip to the final of the African Champions League after eight people on the opposing Moroccan team Raja Casablanca tested positive for the coronavirus. The infections followed the first-leg match which Zamalek won 1-0 in Morocco.
The second-leg match has been re-scheduled to Sunday 1 November in Cairo. The winner will face Ahly, also of Egypt, in the final of the Champions League to be held in Cairo on 6 November.
Ahly had beaten Wydad Casablanca, also of Morocco, 5-1 on aggregate, having won the first-leg semi-final 2-0 in Casablanca and then 3-1 in Cairo to reach the final and a chance for a record-extending ninth Champions League title and their first since 2013.
In the second-tier Confederation Cup on Sunday, debutant Pyramids of Egypt lost 1-0 to Morocco’s RS Berkane in Morocco. It was RS Berkane’s first ever Total CAF Confederation Cup title in their second consecutive final.
The Moroccans lost last year’s final on penalties to Zamalek but they were in no mood for lightning to strike twice in the same spot as they ensured victory on home soil, at Prince Moulay Abdellah in Rabat.
Berkane finished the game with 10 men, just like in last year’s final, when Bakre El Helali was sent off for a dangerous tackle with two minutes left on the clock. Because of their numerical disadvantage, they just but managed to stay afloat.
According to cafonline, Pyramids had come into the final with enviable pedigree, having gone all the way to the last game of the campaign in their first ever season with only two losses from their last 15 matches in the competition. They had also won all their eight away matches this season, prior to the final. But they could not finish the job as the experienced Moroccan side held on for a valuable victory.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 29 October, 2020 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly