Zamalek's Carteron hails another 'heroic' display after Esperance win

Mahmoud Sheleib , Friday 28 Feb 2020

The White Knights beat Esperance 3-1 in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final, less than two weeks after beating them by the same scoreline in the African Super Cup

Zamalek SC's French manager Patrice Carteron (R) looks on during the Egyptian Super Cup final football match between Ahly SC and Zamalek SC at Mohammed Bin Zayed stadium in Abu Dhabi on February 20, 2020 AFP

Zamalek coach Patrice Carteron lavished praise on his players after they came from behind to beat Esperance 3-1 in the African Champions League in Friday's quarter-final first leg, which marked their second win over the Tunisians in less than two weeks.

The White Knights recovered from a first-half setback to secure a precious win, thanks to goals from Mohamed Ounajem and Achraf Bencharki as well as a stoppage-time penalty from Mahmoud Alaa.

Carteron said he was happy with how his players responded to Raouf Benguit's 27th-minute opener for Esperance at Cairo Stadium.

"Our players were heroes after recovering from going one goal down," the Frenchman told beIN Sports in a pitch-side interview.

"I think the goal we conceded made us change our game plan and be bolder." 

Carteron also praised the players for not being distracted by controversial off-the-field matters, as chairman Mortada Mansour ordered the team to skip an Egyptian Premier League game against arch-rivals Ahly on Monday in protest at the Egyptian Football Association's refusal to postpone the match.

"It was a very difficult week for us, from our [cancelled] match against Ahly until today's game," said the 49-year-old coach.

Carteron is taking nothing for granted despite the first-leg advantage, saying Zamalek still need to give their all in the second leg in Rades next Friday.

"I know that Esperance are a big team. They are the African champions for two consecutive years, that's why we need to work hard and play a big game there," he explained

"Starting from tomorrow, we will start our preparations for the second leg game, because it will be a big and exceptional match."

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