Razak Omotoyossi scored Zamalek's only goal (Photo: Ahram)
Egypt's Zamalek only hope to reach the CAF champions League semi final was shattered after Sunday's 2-1 loss to DR Congo's Mazembe in the fourth matchday of group stage at the Military Academy stadium in Cairo.
Two first-half goals by Hichani Himoonde and Mbwana Samata on 34 and 44 minutes respectively gave the visitors the upper hand, while the hosts' only goal was scored by Benin striker Razak Omotoyossi on in the 35th minute.
Under the guidance of new Brazilian tactician Jorvan Vieira, the White Knights were in a must-win situation to proceed at the continental prestigious tournament and book a last-four berth, the mission they failed to achieve.
The loss was the fourth successive for the Cairo giants in the group stage as they remained at the bottom of Group B with no points, ten adrift of leaders Ahly and seven behind second-placed Mazembe. They squandered their last chance to reach the semi-final of Africa’s premier club competition for the first time since 2005.
Despite of the intensive attacks by Abdoulaye Cisse and Razak Omotoyossi since the early start of the game, the Whites failed to find the net.
A 34 minute header by defender Hichani Himoonde gave the visitors an early lead , but Benin striker Omotoyossi quickly restored parity, diverting home a pull-back from winger Mohamed Ibrahim one minute later.
However, Mazembe striker Mbwana Samata put his side ahead again with a 44th-minute free header that broke the hearts of the success-starved Zamalek.
Zamalek paid for recurring defensive mistakes in the first half as Mazembe made the most of the gaps in the hosts' shaky backline.
The match build-up was filled with controversy as Zamalek hardcore fans, the Ultras White Knights (UWK), threatened to defy a crowd ban but they eventually retracted their decision few minutes before kick-off.
It was played behind closed doors due to ongoing security concerns as Egyptian authorities have enforced a crowd ban since February’s infamous Port Said disaster, which left dozens dead and hundreds injured.
Earlier on Sunday, Zamalek's rivals Ahly sealed their spot in the last four after holding Ghana's Berekum Chelsea to a 1-1 draw in their Group B game in Accra.
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