A new-look Mido was rewarded for his efforts to lose weight when he headed home in the first half to send Zamalek through to the Champions League last 32 with a 2-1 aggregate win over Tanzania’s Young Africans.
The 29-year-old, who appeared in a good physical shape after losing around 11 kilograms, notched up what proved to be the winner on 31 minutes as Zamalek strolled into the next round.
He was substituted at halftime, however, after apparently picking up a hamstring injury.
Young Africans played with ten men for most of the second half after Athuman Idd received a straight red card for a last-man foul on Zamalek’s Razak Omotoyossi three minutes past the hour mark.
The game was played behind closed doors at Cairo’s Military Academy Stadium, the first a two-match crowd ban imposed on Zamalek by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) due to last year’s crowd riots in a round of 32 game against Tunisia’s Club Africain.
Zamalek keeper Abdel-Wahed El-Sayed tipped over a free-kick from Idd midway through the first half in Young Africans’ only real chance throughout the game.
The hosts then took firm control, outplaying their opponents with some swift moves from attacking trio Mido, Benin’s Omotoyossi and Mahmoud Abdel-Razek “Shikabala”.
Omotoyossi could have put Zamalek ahead in the 23rd minute when he was picked out by a superb long ball from Shikabala but he missed the target with a half-volley from inside the area.
Mido made amends eight minutes later when he sprang the offside trap to send a powerful header past the motionless keeper following a right-wing cross from new signing Alexis Mendomo of Cameroon.
Idd was sent off on 63 minutes as Zamalek continued their domination, although they eased off a bit after the break.
Egypt skipper Ahmed Hassan, who has recently become the world’s most capped player after playing his 179th international game, wasted two clear-cut opportunities after coming on as a second-half substitute.
He sent a free header wide after breaking the offside trap before rattling the bar from the spot after Zamalek were awarded a penalty for a foul on wing-back Hazem Emam with 11 minutes remaining.
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