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Lacklustre Zamalek hold on to reach CL last-16 despite 2-1 loss at Rangers

Zamalek keeper Mahmoud Gennesh was vital in helping his side seal qualification to the group-stage

Ahram Online , Sunday 19 Mar 2017
Zamalek
(Zamalek striker Hossam Salama scores in the first leg to help his side seal an aggregate 5-3 win; Photo: Al-Ahram)
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A shambolic Zamalek side managed to seal progress to the CAF Champions League last-16 with a 5-3 aggregate victory after losing 2-1 to Nigeria's Enugu Rangers at Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium on Sunday.

In a match that saw understudy keeper Mahmoud Gennesh excel behind a lackluster Zamalek defensive line, the Nigerians took the lead on the stroke of half-time through Tope Olusesi.

Substitute Zamalek striker Bassem Morsi hit the equalizer in the 71st minute to make the hosts' mission more difficult having headed into the round of 32 return-leg trailing 4-1 from Cairo.

Gennesh exploits

Keeper Gennesh, who deputised for the injured Ahmed El-Shennawi, was called into action after just four minutes to thwart Bobby Clement – who scored Rangers' sole goal at El-Salam Stadium last week.

Zamalek midfielder Maarouf Yussuf could have scored just two minutes later after forward Stanley Ohawuchi set him through on goal but the former struck into the keeper.

With the home side commanding possession, Cheik Abdul Aziz Camara headed high over in the 28th minute before keeper Gennesh came to superbly thwart Olusesi's free kick a couple of minutes later.

Rangers then scored in the final minutes of the half after capitalising on some dismal marking from Zamalek central defenders Ali Gabr and Islam Gamal, as Olusesi was allowed to smash the roof of the net from inside the area.

Gennesh continued to shine after the break, this time keeping away Osas Okoro's effort from outside the area, denying Enugu a second goal just three minutes into the second half.    

The keeper, however, should have done better coming out of goal in time minutes later but eventually managed to block a clear-on-goal Daniel Etor who caught the Zamalek defense napping to break clear.

It wasn't the end of the keeper's exploits though, being called into action once again in the 63rd minute, but it was seven minutes later when the Zamalek faithful breathed a sigh of relief after Morsi scored a crucial goal from close range following a cross from left-back Ahmed Fatouh.

The hosts then had a glimmer of hope after Egypt and Zamalek midfielder Tarek Hamed fouled an opponent inside the box, with the referee pointing to the spot.

Aguda made no mistake one minute from time sending Gennesh the wrong way, as Zamalek forward Ohawuchi was guilty of missing a sitter in the closing stages.

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

 

 

 

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