Egypt's Zamalek suffer shock Confed Cup exit after shootout defeat

Ahram Online , Sunday 18 Mar 2018

Zamalek
Bassem Morsi in action against a player from Ethiopia's Wolaitta Dicha in Sunday's Confederation Cup game in Cairo (Ahram)

Egypt's Zamalek suffered a shock exit from the CAF Confederation Cup round of 32 after losing 4-3 on penalties to Ethiopia's Wolaitta Dicha following a 2-2 aggregate draw in Cairo on Sunday.

After losing 2-1 in Hawassa earlier this month, Zamalek triumphed with the same scoreline in regular time to force a penalty shootout that condemned them to a bitter exit at the first hurdle. 

Playmaker Ahmed Madbouli gave the hosts the lead from the spot following a disputed penalty on the stroke of half-time before adding another goal just three minutes after the break.

An ill-fated mistake from international keeper Ahmed El-Shennawi, however, allowed the visitors to stun the home crowd through Abdul-Samad Ali in the 52nd minute to level the aggregate score. 

The match went straight into penalties, where Zamalek playmaker Ayman Hefni struck the bar and midfielder Mahmoud Abdel-Aziz had a tame effort saved to allow Dicha to cause a huge upset. 

Zamalek control, toothless on goal    

Zamalek remained in control from the outset, and forward Nana Poku - deployed on the left - came close with a fine header that narrowly went wide 12 minutes into the game.

The Ghanaian Poku, alongside main striker Bassem Morsi, were guilty of some glaring misses inside the box until the referee awarded Zamalek a penalty after adjudging the ball to have touched the arm of a Ditcha defender inside the area. However, television replays showed that the ball had struck his back. 

Madbouli, starting as a no.10, made no mistake from 12 yards to give Zamalek the lead, shortly before going into the dressing rooms.

Just three minutes after the break, Madbouli completed his brace with a brilliant goal that saw him press a defender and rob him off the ball before surging forward and beating the keeper at the far post.

Zamalek seemed en route to victory against a modest side, but the Ethiopians managed to level the tie with a goal from a set-piece that was not properly judged by keeper El-Shennawi to allow Ali to score.  

Poku then came close in the 63rd minute when he saw his powerful strike from outside the area kept away by the keeper, with Zamalek piling up the pressure in search for another goal.

Egypt midfielder Tarek Hamed then saw an effort blocked by the keeper 11 minutes from time, with Zamalek laying siege to their opponents' area.

Some wayward shots, however, by substitutes Ayman Hefni and Mohamed Ibrahim meant a penalty shootout was likely – with Zamalek continuously failing to find the net.

Penatly shootout

Madbouli, Morsi and Ibrahim all managed to score from the spot, but keeper El-Shennawi could only dive the right way once, failing to block any spot-kick. 

Hefni then missed for Zamalek, as he was unlucky to see his kick bounce off the bar with the keeper already going the other way.

Midfielder Abdel-Aziz ensured the Ethiopian minnows made it through to the next round with a weak effort as Zamalek suffered a stunning elimination. 

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