Zamalek on verge of Confed Cup semis after easing past Leopards

Omar Zaazou, Sunday 26 Jul 2015

Zamalek have nine points at the top of Group B after a walk in the park against Congo's Leopards

Zamalek striker Bassem Morsi celebrating after scoring the opener against Congo's Leopards in their CAF Confederation Cup meeting (Photo: Ahram)

Zamalek took a huge stride towards booking a Confederation Cup semi-final berth after claiming their third group-stage win on the trot with an easy 2-0 win over Congo's Leopards at Cairo's Petrosport Stadium on Sunday.

Two first-half goals from in-form duo Bassem Morsi and the fit-again Ayman Hefni (penalty) were enough to give the Whites a win that cemented their position on top of Group B and maintained their 100 percent record. 

Zamalek, however, could have come up with a victory with a bigger margin had the referee not ruled out a legitimate goal by Khaled Kamar in the first period.

The Cairo giants, who entered the game on the back of a demoralizing 2-0 defeat by arch-rivals Ahly in the Egyptian league, are nine points at the top of the table - six ahead of second-placed Orlando Pirates who meet Tunisia's Sfaxien later on the day.

Two strikes, disallowed goal

Zamalek did not wait for long to take the lead, and with just two minutes on the clock, striker Morsi grabbed the opener after converting Hazem Emam's cross from the right - capitalizing on the poor positioning of the opponents' center backs.

The hosts then eased off after the goal, and Leopards started growing gradually into the game, as keeper Ahmed El-Shennawi was called into action when he timely rushed out to deny a through-on-goal Rudi Bhebey-Ndey.

El-Shennawi again had to block a strike from defensive midfielder Césaire Gandzé from outside the area, with Leopards posing real threat on the Zamalek goal in the 27th minute.

The Egyptians, however, should have gone two up just a few minutes later, when Hefni's goalwards curling shot was headed by the out-of-sorts Khaled Kamar into the net, only for the ref to rule out the goal, having adjudged the latter to have been offside.   

But Zamalek managed to double their lead shortly afterwards, with a neat piece of skill from Emam saw him tripped inside the area as the official pointed to the spot.

Hefni, who missed the loss to Ahly shortly before the game due to flu, made no mistake from nine yards to make up for the disallowed goal.

Late Zamalek revival

Zamalek entered the second half as if they had already won the game, but their lowly opponents managed to come close twice in the space of ten minutes.

Just five minutes after the restart, winger Mahamane Cissé was guilty of a staggering miss from inside the six-yard box with the goal at his mercy after connecting with a cross from striker Tresor Mukenga from the left.

Egypt keeper El-Shennawi, who was largely responsible of conceding the second goal against Ahly last week, then pulled off another save to thwart midfielder Sagesse Babele.

Jesualdo Ferreira's men, however, refused to leave the game without producing some glimpses of skill, and indeed substitute Mostafa Fathi was the one involved, superbly evading two challengers before seeing his strike saved by the keeper on 75 minutes.

Another sub in Ahmed Samir was also involved in a Zamalek sitter, having been guilty of spurning a one-on-one chance near the end.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

Short link: