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Saturday, 19 June 2021

Zamalek's misery compounded with 3-0 loss to TP Mazembe

Egypt's Zamalek outplayed in Lubumbashi in their opening match of the African Champions League group stage

Ahram Online , Saturday 30 Nov 2019
Zamalek coach Micho (File Photo: Reuters)

Micho's job as Zamalek coach is under threat as the team's misery was compounded by an embarrassing 3-0 loss at DR Congo giants TP Mazembe in their opening group-stage game of the African Champions League on Saturday.

Although Zamalek looked largely solid in the first half, they dramatically collapsed after the interval as Mazembe outplayed them at their fortress in Lubumbashi.

The introduction of Patou Kabangu made all the difference as he created two goals for Jackson Muleka and veteran forward Tresor Mputu before Muleka struck again with six minutes remaining to complete the rout.

Zamalek suffered their second straight defeat following their stunning 2-1 loss to bottom side Enppi in the Egyptian Premier League last week, with Micho coming in for fierce criticism.

The Serbian coach's days look to be numbered after a poor start to the new season, although his reign kicked off in convincing fashion when Zamalek crushed Pyramids FC 3-0 in the Egypt Cup final earlier this year.

Angola's  Primeiro de Agosto take on Zambia's ZESCO United in the other Group A match later in the day.

Five-time winners

A clash of two five-time winners of Africa's premier club competition was expected to be exciting, but both sides labored in a drab first half.  

Zamalek's well-drilled defence restricted Mazembe to a few opportunities, although the White Knights survived a scare on 29 minutes when defender Mahmoud Alaa appeared to block a shot with his arm, only for the referee to wave away the hosts' penalty claims.

Muleka wasted Mazembe's best chance before the break when he controlled a long ball inside the area with his back to goal, turned and skewed his shot wide.

He made amends on the hour mark to spark wild celebrations in the stands, meeting an inviting cross from Kabangu with a free header that found the corner of the net.

Kabangu was also the architect of the second seven minutes later, pulling the ball back to Mputu who shook off his challenger in the area and drilled a low shot into the bottom corner past the keeper, who should have reacted better.

Muleka was on target again in the dying minutes via a carbon-copy header of his opening goal as Mazembe claimed a fully deserved win.

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