Preview: Zamalek face uphill challenge against TP Mazembe in Champions League as they eye spot in quarter-finals

Ahram Online , Thursday 23 Jan 2020

Zamalek players (Al-Ahram)
Zamalek players (Al-Ahram)

Egypt’s Zamalek will have a tough mission on Friday when they host Congolese side TP Mazembe at El-Salam stadium for the CAF Champions League.

Currently in second place in Group A on seven points -- three behind TP Mazembe -- Zamalek need two points from the remaining two games to secure their place in the quarter-finals.

TP Mazembe have already qualified for the competition's top eight after claiming a 2-1 win at home against Primeiro de Agosto of Angola two weeks ago.

Zamalek's mission will not be easy, given the fine performance of the Congolese side so far during the continental competition.

They silenced the White Knights 3-0 in Lubumbashi in the group opener in November, before continuing their winning run in the group stage to put themselves in contention for the title.

"The game will not be easy," Zamalek coach Patrice Carteron told the pre-match news conference on Thursday.

"TP Mazembe is a very good team and I know that the game will be tough, but my players are ready, and we are determined to decide our qualification in Cairo," he added.

Carteron, who guided TP Mazembe to the Champions League title in 2015, also announced his 18-man list for Friday's clash.

The list did not include international fullback Abdallah Gomaa, who will miss the game due to injury.

Carteron will be counting instead on the efforts of Moroccan forward Achraf Bencharki, midfielder Ahmed “Zizo” Sayed and veteran winger Mahmoud “Shikabala” Abdel-Razek.

Bencharki and Zizo missed Zamalek's win against Gouna in an Egyptian league game as Carteron opted to rest them before the TP Mazembe clash, while Shikabala appeared in the same game after a long period of absence, and scored.    

"I am fully confident that my players are capable of overcoming TP Mazembe. We are well prepared and fully concentrated on this game," Carteron concluded.

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