Zamalek will benefit from the last two matches of the African Champions League group stage against Algeria's MC Alger and Senegal's Teungueth even if the team failed to reach the last eight of the continental tournament, said the team's French coach Patrice Carteron late on Saturday.
The Cairo giants recorded their first ever win in Algeria after beating MC Alger 2-0 in their penultimate group-stage game on Saturday to keep alive their hopes of making it to the last eight of the prestigious competition.
“I am proud of my players’ performance against MC Alger. We had two weeks to prepare for the match and we concentrated on the technical, psychological and physical aspects,” Carteron said in the press conference after the match.
“Zamalek had a better fighting spirit in the game. I know that our destiny isn’t in our hands, but we will play only to win in the last game and we will wait for the result of Esperance and MC Alger match.
“The performance against MC Alger and Teungueth will be of a great benefit for my team in the domestic league even we didn’t qualify for the next round,” added the coach who just returned for a second spell with the Whites replacing Portuguese Jaime Pacheco.
Zamalek are third in Group D with five points, three behind MC Alger and five adrift of already-qualified Esperance.
Zamalek's only hope to go through lies in beating Senegal's Teungueth at home on 10 April in their final game and hope Esperance defeat MC Alger. In this case, the White Knights will advance virtue of their better head-to-head record over MC Alger.
“Teungueth game won’t be such an easy confrontation, but we will work hard till the last time to keep our qualifying hope alive,” the Zamalek coach concluded.
Midfielder Ashour suspended
Meanwhile, the Frenchman Carteron has decided to suspend the team's midfielder Emam Ashour indefinitely after his misconduct on Saturday.
Zamalek didn't reveal the reason behind Ashour's punishment, but Egyptian media reported that the player declined to warm up during the second half against MC Alger, before talking Inappropriately with the technical staff members after the game.
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