Zamalek s players celebrate their winning goal against Flambeau du Centre (Photo: Zamalek s official Facebook page)
On paper, Zamalek secured an away victory, even though the match took place in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria after the two clubs agreed to hold both legs in Egypt.
Defender Hossam Abdel-Maguid netted the winner with a firm header from an Ahmed Zizo corner three minutes before the break, a trademark combination that was one of the hallmarks of Zamalek's Egyptian Premier League triumphant campaign last season.
Zamalek host Flambeau du Centre in the second leg at the same Borg El-Arab Stadium in Alexandria on Friday.
The White Knights pushed forward from the early stages but found it hard to break down the visitors' massed ranks.
Several new signings were named in Zamalek's starting line-up, including Senegalese forward Ibrahima Ndiaye and Moroccan midfielder Zakaria El Wardi.
Ndiaye sent a free header high over on 14 minutes and was unlucky not to score nine minutes before the break when his close-range effort was cleared off the line by Patrick Kwizera following a goal-mouth scramble.
Abdel-Maguid ended Flambeau du Centre's resistance after towering unmarked to powerfully head home before Zamalek took their foot off the gas pedal in a drab second half.
They still wasted a couple of chances late in the game, with substitutes Sayed Abdallah and Hossam Ashraf squandering easy opportunities.
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