Zamalek suffer shootout loss to Al Hilal at Qatar World Cup stadium

Hatem Maher , Friday 9 Sep 2022

Egypt's Zamalek slumped to a 4-1 shootout loss to Saudi Arabia's Al Hilal following a 1-1 draw in a fast-paced Egyptian-Saudi Super Cup game played at the stadium which will host the World Cup final in December.

Zamalek v Al Hilal
Hilal s players celebrate winning the Lusail Super Cup football match between Saudi Arabia s Al-Hilal and Egypt s Zamalek at the Lusail Stadium on the outskirts of Qatar s capital Doha on September 9, 2022 (AFP)


In a dress rehearsal for the world's most prestigious showpiece, the newly-build Lusail Iconic Stadium, which can accommodate up to 80,000 fans, hosted a lively affair in the first such game to take place since 2018.

Back then, Zamalek survived a barrage of attacks to down Al Hilal 2-1 but there was no repeat this time around, with the Saudi champions emerging worthy winners.

Zamalek, winners of the past two Egyptian Premier League editions, fell behind when former Manchester United striker Odion Ighalo gave Al Hilal a deserved lead after 18 minutes.

Winger Ahmed Zizo, fresh from penning a new three-year deal with Zamalek, brought the Cairo giants level from a rare breakaway as the team went to the locker room level at 1-1.

Al Hilal continued to lay siege to Zamalek's area after the break but could not find a winner, with the match going straight to penalties.

Al Hilal converted all of their four spot kicks, with Andre Carrillo scoring the winning penalty. Even when Luciano Vietto did miss, the kick was ordered to be re-taken after Zamalek keeper Mohamed Awad was adjudged to have stepped off the line before the ball was hit.

Zamalek were made to pay for an uncommon miss from spot-kick specialist Zizo, whose first effort came back off the post. Defender Mahmoud El-Wensh also had a tame effort saved by keeper Abdullah Al-Muaiouf.

Hilal pressure

Zamalek tried to soak up early pressure from a vibrant Hilal side, who dominated possession and mounted an onslaught.

Burly Malian striker Moussa Marega caused Zamalek's defence all sorts of problems, repeatedly dropping deep and interacting well with strike partner Ighalo.

After six minutes, a free kick struck the Zamalek defensive wall and fell to the unmarked Marega, whose shot from inside the area forced a superb one-handed save from Awad.

Ighalo opened the scoring on 18 minutes when he made the most of a defensive lapse, breaking a poor offside trap to control a chipped pass and dink the ball over the advancing yet motionless Awad.

Awad kept Zamalek in the game when he palmed away a stinging shot from the lively Salman Al-Faraj before Zizo drew them level from a rare counter attack in the 33rd minute.

Lone striker Seifeddine Jaziri latched onto a threaded pass from Emam Ashour but could only send a weak angled shot, which keeper Al-Muaiouf parried into the path of Zizo to drill home on the rebound.

Zamalek retreated again as Hilal quickly regained control, with Marega unlucky not to restore their advantage on the stroke of halftime.

A fine three-man move saw Ighalo slip the ball to the former Porto man on the right hand side of the area but he was foiled in a one-on-one by another fine Awad save.

Zamalek slightly improved in the early stages of the second half, with new Senegalese forward Ibrahim Ndiaye and Moroccan midfielder Zakaria El Wardi making their debuts, but Al Hilal took charge again shortly afterwards.  

Clear-cut chances were scarce in the second half but Al Hilal could have still won when the unmarked Salem Al-Dawsari hit a low shot just wide following a pull-back from the right.

But they prevailed on penalties to claim the game's bragging rights.

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