Zamalek into Champions League group stage after narrow win over Generation Foot

Mohamad Mosselhi , Thursday 24 Oct 2019

An own goal from Generation Foot defender sends Zamalek into the Champions League last 16

Zamalek v Generation Foot
Zamalek Mostafa Mohamed celebrates scoring against Generation Foot (Photo: Reuters)

Zamalek reached the Champions League group stage after claiming a nervy 1-0 win over Generation Foot in the second leg of the competition's round 32 at El-Salam stadium on Thursday.

The Cairo giants qualified on the away goal rule after their 2-1 away defeat in Senegal last September.

Generation Foot defender Djibril Diop scored in his own nets in the 19th minute to hand Zamalek their last 16 ticket.

The game was initially scheduled on the 28th September but the Senegalese side refused to show up at Alexandria's Borg El-Arab Stadium protesting against the change of the date and venue of the game.

After protracted deliberations, CAF finally decided to re-schedule the match for a second time, having failed to blame either side.

In spite of their qualification, Zamalek is far from convincing and have prompted doubts over the club's fate in Africa's elite.

An early goal

Abdallah Gomaa
Zamalek's Abdallah Gomaa in action with Generation Foot's Issa Diouf (Photo: Reuters)

Zamalek made an enthusiastic start of the game but it was the hosts who had the first sight of goal when Cherif Bayo's dangerous shot from inside the box was blocked by Mahmoud "El Wench" Hamdi.

The Whites were lucky to get in the lead as captain Djibril Diop scored in his own net after a poor clearance of a cross from Youssef "Obama" Ibrahim.

Zamalek could have extended their lead on two occasions but keeper Mohamed Niare denied a glancing header from Moroccan forward Ashraf Bencharki and a tight-angled shot from Ahmed 'Zizo' Sayed.

On the other end of the pitch, Zamalek keeper Mohamed Awad came also at the rescue for his side as he made some brilliant stretches to keep his clean sheet against a threatening opponent who pushed forward en masse.

Although the Whites failed to gain momentum they had a golden opportunity to secure the victory when they were awarded a penalty following a handball from Youssou Diagne inside the box but specialist Mahmoud Alaa hit the crossbar from the spot.

Zamalek were dealt a huge blow in the final quarter as Awad had to be stretched off due to injury making way for debutant keeper Mohamed Sobhi.

The Cairo giants closed down spaces at the back until the final whistle.

The White Knights will play in Group A with five time African Champions TP Mazembe of DR Congo, Angolan side 1º de Agosto and ZESCO United of Zambia.

The Group stage will start on 29 November.  

Ferjani Sassi
Zamalek's Ferjani Sassi in action with Generation Foot's Cherif Bayo (Photo: Reuters)

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