Zamalek defeat Al-Hilal 2-1 to win the Egyptian Super Cup in Riyadh (Ahram)
Egypt's Zamalek survived an onslaught from Saudi champions Al-Hilal in Riyadh to secure a 2-1 win and claim the Saudi-Egyptian Super Cup title on Saturday.
Although Hilal launched a wave after wave of attacks, Zamalek were the more clinical, making the most of the few chances they created to go to the locker room 2-0 up, thanks to goals from Tunisian right-back Hamdi Nagguez and Congolese striker Kabongo Kasongo.
Syrian striker Omar Khribin pulled one back early in the second half but Hilal could not find the equaliser, to the surprise of the passionate home fans who watched their side squander numerous goal-scoring chances either side of the interval.
Zamalek featured in the game after winning the Egypt Cup title last season while Al-Hilal are the reigning champions of the Saudi league.
Saturday's game is the third Saudi-Egyptian Super Cup since the competition was inaugurated in 2001. It was also held in 2003, with Zamalek - then the cup champions - beating Jeddah-based club Ittihad on penalties after a 0-0 draw.
Zamalek keeper Gennesh pulled off a string of impressive saves to foil Hilal on a number of occasions as the hosts pinned the Egyptians into their own half for large spells.
He tipped over a goal-bound header and thwarted an effort from Salem Al-Dawsari following a one-on-one situation.
Brazilian attacking midfielder Carlos Eduardo also had a header denied by the post midway through the first half and Hilal were punished for their profligacy on 40 minutes when Nagguez sent a powerful header home after an inviting cross from winger Mahmoud Kahraba with the outside of his foot.
Nagguez turned provider as Zamalek added the second before halftime following a move he started in his own half. He outmuscled his challenger and broke clear before crossing low for Kassongo to tap into an empty net.
Hilal piled on pressure in the early stages of the second half and finally made their dominance count when substitute Khribin, the 2017 Asian Player of the Year, headed home at the far post, with Gennesh grasping the ball after it crossed the goal-line.
Hilal were unlucky not to equalise on several occasions and Zamalek were also dangerous on the break, with Kasongo hitting the post with an angled shot.
Al-Dawsari spurned another golden chance in stoppage time and Al-Hilal had their hearts broken when a goal they scored at the death was disallowed for offside after the referee consulted the VAR.
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