Preview: Zamalek eye Conf Cup glory against RS Berkane

Ahram Online , Saturday 18 May 2024

Egyptian giants Zamalek will aim to end their continental drought as they host RS Berkane of Morocco in the second leg of the CAF Confederation Cup at Cairo International Stadium on Sunday.

Zamalek Forward Zizo fights for the ball during the match with RS Berkane on 13 May, 2024. Photo courtesy of Zamalek.


The White Knights, eyeing their second Confederation Cup title, are determined to capitalize on their home advantage and overturn the 2-1 deficit from the first leg against the Moroccan side, which took place a week ago.

Adding an intriguing layer, this match is a rematch of the 2019 Confederation Cup final, where Zamalek emerged victorious on penalties after an aggregate scoreline of 1-1.

Interestingly, the Cairo giants could become the first team to win the competition after losing the first leg of the final since their own triumph over Berkane in 2019.

Zamalek coach Jose Gomes will hope his side can replicate their second-half fightback from the first leg, where a goal from Tunisian striker Seifeddine Jaziri kept their hopes alive.

A strong start and a solid defense will be crucial for the White Knights to overcome the deficit.

However, Zamalek faces challenges as several key players, including defenders Mostafa El-Zennari and Mahmoud 'El-Wensh' Hamdi, as well as veteran skipper Mahmoud 'Shikabala' Abdel-Razek, will miss the clash due to injuries.

The Cairo giants have been handed a boost as winger Mostafa Shalaby will be available for the game after recovering from the injury that ruled him out of the first leg.

Zamalek's 53-year-old Portuguese tactician, Gomes, emphasized the need for a fair game that allows the better side to emerge victorious, stressing that playing at home does not guarantee success.

He stated, "I want to see fairness during the game and let the better side on the pitch win. We know that Zamalek is a bigger club than RS Berkane - and the supporters are well aware of that fact. However, that doesn't mean the Moroccan side is not a good team."

On the other hand, RS Berkane will strive to win the title for the third time and solidify their status as one of the competition's most successful teams, alongside Tunisia's CS Sfaxien.

The Moroccan side's coach Mouine Chaabani will demand composure from his players and encourage them to exploit any weaknesses in the Zamalek backline since they are well aware of the electric atmosphere awaiting them in Cairo and need to remain focused on securing the coveted trophy.

The 42-year-old Tunisian tactician stressed that his side is fully prepared for the upcoming clash, stating, "We are technically ready for Zamalek, and we are working hard to concentrate on the game. We have remarkable players in the attacking line who can make the difference."

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