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Friday, 20 September 2019

Bencharki's double gives Zamalek Egypt Cup title after 3-0 win over Pyramids

Hatem Maher , Sunday 8 Sep 2019
Shikabala
Soccer Football - Egyptian Cup Final - Zamalek v Pyramids - Borg El Arab Stadium, Alexandria, Egypt - September 8, 2019 Zamalek's Shikabala in action REUTERS
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A double from new recruit Achraf Bencharki gave Zamalek their sixth Egypt Cup title in the last seven seasons following a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Pyramids FC in Alexandria on Sunday.

The Moroccan winger, who joined from Saudi side Al-Hilal in the summer, netted with two clinical finishes to end the match as a contest after deep-lying forward Youssef Ibrahim had given Zamalek the lead early in the second half.

The White Knights displayed a free-flowing game to tore their hapless opponents to shreds, wrapping up their favourite title without conceding a single goal and giving new Serbian coach Micho his first triumph at the helm.

The Egypt Cup win, coupled with an African Confederation Cup triumph in May, will ease the disappointment of Zamalek's failure to complete a treble after throwing away a comfortable lead to surrender the Egyptian league title to arch foes Ahly.

Zamalek took their tally to 27 Egypt Cup titles, 9 behind Ahly who could only win the secondary domestic competition once in the last 12 years.

Although Zamalek had the better of the first-half chances, Pyramids were more than a match in an exciting duel.

Pyramids, who were eyeing their first title, could have drawn the first blood as early as the eight minute when a bicycle effort from Ghanaian striker John Antwi went just wide of the post.

But Zamalek quickly took control, with some dynamic moves and perfectly-timed runs from wingers Mahmoud Shikabala and Bencharki behind the defence unsettling Pyramids' rearguard.

However, Zamalek's best chances were created via set-pieces rather than orchestrated, open-play moves.

Tunisian midfielder Ferjani Sassi volleyed high over with the goal gaping after keeper Ahmed El-Shennawi fumbled at an inswinging corner from Shikabala. The towering goalie then atoned for his mistake by producing a superb one-handed save to thwart a goal-bound header from Sassi.

Zamalek turned on the style in the second half to crush Pyramids, thanks to some neat combinations down both flanks as Bencharki and Shikabala stole the show.

They deservedly went ahead in the 52nd minute when Sassi found Shikabala on the right with a pinpoint long ball that sliced open the defence, with the veteran winger neatly controlling it before feeding Ibrahim with the outside of his left foot for an easy tap-in at the far post.

Bencharki made it 2-0 11 minutes later with a fine header following an inviting cross from right-back Hamdi Nagguez before completing the rout seven minutes from time after finishing off a sublime team move.

A series of intricate passes released substitute Mohamed Ounajem on the left and he pulled the ball back to the unmarked Bencharki to side-foot home and spark wild celebrations in the stands.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

 
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