Holders Zamalek beat Ittihad after extra time to reach Egypt Cup final

Hatem Maher , Sunday 1 Sep 2019

Zamalek defeat Ittihad in the Egypt Cup semis (Ahram)

Defending champions Zamalek edged closer to a sixth Egypt Cup triumph in seven seasons after an extra-time strike from substitute Mostafa Mohamed gave them a 1-0 win over Ittihad in the semi-final on Sunday.

Mostafa, who has produced some fine displays since returning to Zamalek in the summer after a loan spell with Talae El-Geish, netted with a poacher's effort in the 99th minute to end the resistance of Ittihad as Serbian coach Micho enjoyed his third win in as many games, without conceding any goals. 

Ittihad could have easily lost in regulation time had Zamalek converted one of their more than a dozen chances in a one-sided affair.

Zamalek will face either Pyramids or Petrojet, who meet in the other semi-final on Monday, in the final as they seek to maintain their dominance of Egypt's secondary domestic competition.

With Ittihad keeper Emad El-Sayed, who joined from Zamalek in the close season, in inspired form, the White Knights could not open the scoring despite their utter dominance in the first half.

Winger Youssef Ibrahim shot across the face of the goal when well-positioned to score after a neat pass from newly-signed playmaker Achraf Bencharki and he was guilty of an even more glaring miss on 18 minutes.

Bencharki found Hamdi Nagguez with a fine chipped pass on the right flank and the Tunisian full-back's first-time cross picked out the unmarked Ibrahim, who rattled the bar with a right-foot shot from five yards out.

Emad El-Sayed also came to Ittihad's rescue with two superb stops to thwart headers from lone striker Omar El-Said.

Zamalek eased off in the early stages of the second half and Ittihad could have punished them on 67 minutes when they created their only goal-scoring chance, striker Khaled Qamar rounding the advanced keeper only to see his goal-bound effort cleared by a header from central defender Mahmoud Alaa.

Ittihad then defended in numbers as Zamalek piled on pressure, squandering further chances including a volley from substitute Mahmoud Shikabala which went just wide after he was found unmarked by a long pass upfield from Alaa.

Shikabala was also denied in a one-on-one in the first half of extra time but he made amends when his inswinging corner eluded everyone and fell kindly for Mostafa Mohamed to fire an unstoppable volley home.

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