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Bencharki helps Egypt's Zamalek move joint top in Champions League

Ahram Online , Friday 10 Jan 2020
File photo of Zamalek's Achraf Bencharki (Al-Ahram)

Achraf Bencharki scored an early goal and provided a late assist as Zamalek downed Zambia's Zesco United 2-0 in Cairo to move joint top of their African Champions League group on Friday.

The Moroccan forward took his tally to 10 goals since joining Zamalek last summer when he headed them in front as early as the fourth minute.

A late Zamalek counter attack also saw Bencharki square the ball to lone striker Mostafa Mohamed for an easy tap-in following a superb defence-splitting pass from substitute Mostafa Fathi.

It was largely a walk in the park for Zamalek, who played out a 1-1 draw at Zesco last month, as they boosted their chances of reaching the quarters with two matches remaining in Group A.

They have seven points from four matches, on level with DR Congo's TP Mazembe, who play Angola's Primeiro de Agosto (two points) on Saturday. Zesco lie at the bottom with only two points.

Zamalek needed four minutes to open the scoring following a swift move.

Ferjani Sassi found Mohamed Ounajem with a through pass on the right and the Moroccan winger whipped in an inviting cross, which was headed home by compatriot Bencharki after he leapt unmarked.

Zamalek could not build on the opening goal, needlessly easing off as Zesco tried to push forward, although the visitors could not mount any threats.

The Cairo giants were lethargic in the early stages of the second half but stepped up a gear by the hour mark, with Zesco offering little upfront.

The lively Ounajem, who has produced some fine displays lately after a slow start to his life at the club, had a low shot blocked by the keeper and Mostafa Mohamed headed just wide from a left-wing cross.

Bencharki also went close with a bouncing shot that narrowly missed the target.

Zesco had a solitary half chance in the dying minutes when a half-volley from substitute Umaru Kasumba went wide but Mostafa struck one minute from time to kill off their hopes.

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