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VIDEO: Zamalek win Egypt's oldest competition to end title drought

Zamalek crush Wadi Degla 3-0 in the Red Sea resort of El-Gouna on Saturday to win the Egypt Cup and end a five-year title drought

Hatem Maher, Saturday 9 Nov 2013
Zamalek
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Zamalek finally tasted success after five barren years, giving their hungry fans something to cheer about after easing to a 3-0 victory over Wadi Degla in the Egypt Cup final on Saturday.

Roared on by a passionate crowd at a tiny stadium in the Red Sea resort of El-Gouna, Zamalek found no difficulty brushing aside their modest opponents, thanks to a brace from Ahmed Gaafar and a fortuitous goal from winger Mahmoud Abdel-Razek 'Shikabala'

Around 4,000 supporters erupted into ecstasy after the final whistle in jubilant scenes not seen since 2008 when Zamalek beat ENPPI in the cup final.

The White Knights made up for a disappointing African Champions League campaign which saw them fail to reach the semis after finishing behind Cairo rivals Ahly and South Africa's Orlando Pirates in the group stage.

Zamalek's hardcore supporters set off fireworks and waved giant flags, reaping the rewards of their patience after having to endure a period of administrative instability at a time when foes Ahly dominated domestic competitions.     

Ahly withdrew from the Egypt Cup this season over a sponsorship dispute with the Egyptian Football Association, helping Zamalek enjoy an easy ride in the country's oldest domestic competition, which was first held in 1921.

The Egypt Cup is the first major competition to be completed since the February 2012 Port Said disaster, which left over 70 Ahly fans dead after crowd riots in the coastal city. Two subsequent Premier Leagues were called off.

Pundits praised the conduct of Zamalek fans against Wadi Degla, saying that would pave the way for a return to normalcy in the stands after a crowd ban was enforced intermittently following the Port Said tragedy.

Egyptian fans will be allowed to attend two key games in the coming ten days.

Ahly host South Africa's Orlando Pirates in the second leg of the African Champions League final on Sunday before Egypt take on Ghana at the army-owned 30 June Stadium in a World Cup playoff on 19 November.

Walk in the park

Degla had the first sight of goal after seven minutes when a superb curling shot from Ethiopian forward Salah Said narrowly missed the target but Zamalek took total control afterwards.

It was walk in the park for the Cairo giants who needed 13 minutes to open the scoring.

Left-back Mohamed Abdel-Shafy flicked on a corner and Gaafar pounced at the far post, his side-footed effort deflecting off a defender to loop over the Degla keeper and into the net.

Gaafar notched his second of the night 11 minutes after the restart to take his tally to six goals and finish as the competition's top scorer. He escaped his marker to tower unmarked at the far post and head home from close range following an inch-perfect cross from Ahmed Eid.

Shikabala completed the rout on 65 minutes when his free-kick from the right wrong-footed the keeper and sailed into the far top corner of the net, giving Zamalek their 22nd Egypt Cup title.

Wadi Degla can still take consolation after booking their place in next year's CAF Confederation Cup for their first-ever appearance at an African competition.

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

Zamalek 3-0 Wadi Degla

 

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