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Saturday, 24 October 2020

RELIVE: Morocco's Raja v Egypt's Zamalek (African Champions League)

Ahram Online provided a live coverage of Sunday’s match between Morocco’s Raja and Egypt’s Ahly in the 1st leg of the African Champions League semi final

Ahram Online , Sunday 18 Oct 2020
Zamalek
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Full time: Raja 0-1 Zamalek
Scorer: Achraf Bencharki 18


The referee blows his final whistle, Zamalek claim a precious victory in Casablanca. Thanks for following our live updates! 

90+2' Zamalek striker Mostafa Mohamed receives a yellow card. 

90+2' Rahimi blasts high over from inside the area. Zamalek defenders look very exhausted in the dying minutes.  

90+1' A goal-scoring chance for Raja! A cross finds Rahimi at the far post but a deflected effort from Hafidi narrowly misses the target.

88' Ounajem runs onto a through pass from Tarek Hamed but his cross goes begging.

85' Zamalek make their first substitution. Moroccan winger Mohamed Ounajem replaces Youssef Ibrahim. 

85' Raja are sending numerous crosses from both flanks as Zamalek resort to deep defending. Can the Egyptians survive the late pressure?

81' Zamalek defender Hamdi makes another superb tackle to deny a Raja player from close range. 

80' Raja make another substitution. Ben Malango makes way for Anas Jabroun.

75' Abou-Gabal makes a timely interception to gather the ball after a poor headed clearance falls to Raja's Ilias Haddad following a corner.

75' Raja dominate possession, with Zamalek sitting back to soak up pressure. 

71' Zamalek survived a period of relentless Raja pressure! 

71' Raja's Arjoune is replaced after picking up an injury, making way for Zakaria El-Wardi.

68' The referee waves away Raja's penalty claims after a ball accidently strikes the arm of Zamalek defender Mohamed Abdel-Ghani.

67' Zamalek keeper Abou-Gabal dives to his right to block a low shot. 

66' The free kick strikes the wall and fall to another Raja player, whose shot is blocked by the defence.

65' Raja are awarded a free kick on the edge of the area. A scoring opportunity for the hosts from a set piece! 

65' Zamalek look dangerous every time they launch a counter attack.

62' Raja make a second substitution. Mahmoud Benhalib replaces skipper Mohsine Moutaouali.

62' Bencharki weaves his way into the area with his trademark slaloming run but his one-two with Ibrahim is intercepted. 

59' The referee flags for offside after Mostafa Mohamed breaks clear and chips it over the keeper. The ball is eventually cleared but television replays show that Mostafa was not in an offside position. 

58' Moutaouali once again skips past Zamalek's young full-back Ahmed Eid but his low cross is pushed away by Abou-Gabal. 

55' Zamalek keeper Abou-Gabal is booked for wasting time. 

52' What a chance for Zamalek! Bencharki breaks clear after a defence-splitting pass and he chips it over the keeper and crosses low for deep-lying forward Youssef Ibrahim, whose shot is blocked by a defender with the goal gaping. 

51' Raja's passes are repeatedly intercepted in midfield. 

47' Abdelilah Madkour runs onto a threaded pass behind the Zamalek defence but he mis-controls the ball and it goes out for a goal kick.

46' Raja make their first substitution. Mohamed Al Makaazi replaces Luamba Ngoma.

The second half is underway 

The referee blows his halftime whistle 

45' The referee adds two minutes of stoppage time. 

43' Rahimi is receiving treatment after an aerial collision with Zamalek's defenders. 

42' The first chance for Raja! Soufiane Rahimi rises between two markers to head a cross goalwards but Abou-Gabal tips it out for a corner. 

38' A deflected cross from Malango goes into the hands of Abou-Gabal. No clear-cut chances for Raja so far. 

36' At the other end, Raja launch a quick counter attack that ends with striker Ben Malango sending a low shot wide of the post. 

35' A header from Bencharki is saved by the keeper after a free kick from the right. 

32' Zamalek are controlling the tempo of the game.

29' The free kick is floated into the area but Zamalek's defence clears it for a corner. 

29' Raja are awarded another free kick on the right flank as Zamalek are pegged back. 

27' Skipper Mohsine Moutaouali sends an angled free kick high over. 

25' Zamalek's central defender Mahmoud Hamdi makes an impressive sliding tackle to clear a through pass. Raja are still finding it difficult to carve out openings.

21' Can Zamalek double their lead the same way Ahly did against Wydad on Saturday? 

20' Bencharki becomes Zamalek's highest-scoring foreigner in African competitions! 

18' Winger Ahmed Sayed Zizo skips past his challenger on the right and sends a cross that eludes the keeper and finds Bencharki to head into an empty net.

18' GOOOOOAL FOR ZAMALEK!!!

15' Soufiane Rahimi skips past Zamalek's right-back Ahmed Eid but falls in the area. Will the referee check a video replay? 

11' Zamalek's Bencharki controls a long ball from Mostafa Mohamed, cuts inside and sends a low shot that is easily collected by the keeper. 

9' A tame long-range shot from Hafidi is collected by Zamalek keeper Mohamed Abou-Gabal. 

6' At the other end, Bencharki tries to penetrate into Raja's area but is eventually robbed. 

6' Abdelilah Hafidi whips in Raja's first cross but it goes straight into the hands of the keeper.

5' Both sides make a cautious start to the game. 

2' Ahmed Zizo tries to exchange passes with full-back Abdallah Gomaa on the left but the latter's over-hit pass goes out for a goal kick. 

The match is underway 

Starting line-ups:

Raja: Anas Zniti, Badr Benoun, Ilias Haddad, Abdelilah Madkour, Fabrice Ngah, Omar Arjoune, Luamba Ngoma, Abdelilah Hafidi, Mohsine Moutaouali, Soufiane Rahimi, Ben Malango

Zamalek: Mohamed Abou-Gabal, Ahmed Eid, Mohamed Abdel-Ghani, Mahmoud Hamdi, Abdallah Gomaa, Tarek Hamed, Eslam Gaber, Ahmed Zizo, Youssef Ibrahim, Achraf Bencharki, Mostafa Mohamed


20:00 Zamalek are missing three regulars in their starting line-up. Youngster Ahmed Eid replaces skipper Hazem Emam as a right-back, Mohamed Abdel-Ghani replaces Mahmoud Alaa as a central defender and Eslam Gaber replaces Ferjani Sassi in the heart of midfield. 

18:30 At the same venue in the 2002 final, the first leg ended in a 0-0 draw after Zamalek produced a resolute defensive display. 

18:25 A general view of the Mohamed V Stadium, which will host tonight's game in Casablanca. 

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18:00 The only time both met in Africa's blue-riband club competition, Zamalek prevailed with a 1-0 aggregate victory in the final to win the title in 2002. They have not lifted the trophy since. 

17:00 The major concern for coach Jaime Pacheco is to find a replacement for Sassi. In-form winger Ahmed "Zizo" Sayed seems to be the best candidate but his energy and pace will be missed in the final third.

16:00 The hosts are also missing some key players through injury, including defenders Abdeljalil Jbira and Omar Boutayeb and midfielder Abderrahim Achchakir.

15:30 Raja are in a buoyant mood after winning the Moroccan league on the final day of the season in dramatic fashion, pipping Casablanca rivals Wydad, who face Zamalek's Cairo nemesis Ahly in the other Champions League semi-final.

15:00 "We played five matches in 15 days and the players are exhausted. I hope this won't be reflected in the game [against Raja]," Pacheco said on Zamalek's official website.

"Playing the second leg at home is only an advantage on paper; all four teams have an equal chance of winning the trophy," he added.

14:25 A hectic run of fixtures left Zamalek with little breathing space as Pacheco could not afford the luxury of resting his key players because the club are still challenging Pyramids FC for the league's second place, with the race going to the wire.

14:00 Head-to-head record between both teams:

Played: 4 matches
Zamalek's wins: 2
Raja's wins: 1
Draws: 1

14:00 Zamalek will probably also have to do without Tunisian holding midfielder Ferjani Sassi, who contracted COVID-19 while on international duty last week.

13:30 But a major concern would be the expected absence of central defender Mahmoud Alaa, who still looks not fully fit after recovering from an injury.

Alaa has been one of Zamalek's best performers this season, forming a solid partnership with Mahmoud Hamdi in the heart of a four-man defence. His aerial prowess, which also helps him score at the other end, and good anticipation of crosses makes him a key member of the team's starting line-up.

12:45 Zamalek face Raja in Casablanca in the last-four first-leg on Sunday, with the wily Pacheco likely to put an extra emphasis on his backline to ensure a solid display away from home.

12:00 With little time to prepare for the crunch showdown, they needed someone who can build on the work of Frenchman Patrice Carteron, whose reliance on a compact defence and fast breakaways was key in helping Zamalek qualify for the semis and win the African Super Cup in February.

11:50 When Zamalek brought in Portuguese coach Jaime Pacheco last month, they had a two-legged African Champions League semi-final against Morocco's Raja firmly in mind.

Venue: Stade Mohammed V

Referee: Allium Niant (Cameroon)

Check the match preview here

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