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Friday, 10 April 2020

Egypt's Zamalek settle for 0-0 draw in Algeria to reach Confed Cup quarters

Hatem Maher , Sunday 17 Mar 2019
File photo of Zamalek's 1-1 draw with NA Hussein Dey in their Confederation Cup game in Alexandria (Photo: Al-Ahram)
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Egypt's Zamalek nullified any threats NA Hussein Dey could have posed to settle for a 0-0 draw in Algiers and reach the African Confederation Cup quarter-finals on Sunday.

Needing just a draw to go through, Zamalek were content to sit back and soak up pressure, with the hosts failing to muster a single effort on goal in a dour affair at Stade du 5 Juillet.

The Cairo giants could have even snatched a win on the road, spurning three clear-cut chances in both halves.

Zamalek finished on top of Group D with nine points, on level with second-placed Gor Mahia who were second due to their inferior head-to-head record.

Kenya's Gor Mahia snatched the second last-eight ticket after beating Angola's Petro Atletico, who finished at the bottom with seven points, 1-0 at home despite playing with nine men.

Zamalek staged a remarkable comeback to book a quarter-final berth, having only collected two points from their opening three games before reviving their hopes with a 1-0 away victory over Petro Atletico and a 4-0 home win over Gor Mahia. 

NA Hussein Dey pushed forward from the outset but they were kept at bay by a compact Zamalek rearguard marshaled by central defender Mahmoud Alaa.

Moroccan winger Hamid Ahaddad wasted Zamalek's best chance in the first half when he was found unmarked by an inviting cross from Tunisian right-back Hamdi Nagguez, only to head wide at the far post.

Lone striker Khalid Boutaib also sent a free header over the bar on 72 minutes but the clearest clear-cut opportunity fell to substitute Mahmoud Abdel-Aziz in stoppage time.

The defensive midfielder turned inside his sole challenger on the area but blasted the ball over the bar with the goal at his mercy.

However, Zamalek held on to secure a precious draw as they continue their bid to win their first ever Confederation Cup title.

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