African News 16.8.2016 01:19 pm

Zamalek reach Caf Champions League semis

Egypt’s Zamalek Tarek Hamed (L) vies for the ball with Nigeria’s Enyimba Anaezemba Nzube (R) during the African Champions League football match between Egypt’s Zamalek and Nigeria’s Enyimba FC at Petro Sport stadium in Cairo on August 15, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / KHALED DESOUKI

Egypt’s Zamalek Tarek Hamed (L) vies for the ball with Nigeria’s Enyimba Anaezemba Nzube (R) during the African Champions League football match between Egypt’s Zamalek and Nigeria’s Enyimba FC at Petro Sport stadium in Cairo on August 15, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / KHALED DESOUKI

Egyptian giants Zamalek became the last team for the semis thanks to a hard fought 1-0 victory over Enyimba in their Group B penultimate fixture on Monday in Cairo.

Striker Bassem Morsi’s second half penalty strike was all the White Knights needed to reach the last four for the first time since 2005. The five-time winners go through from Group B alongside leaders Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa, joining Group A duo Wydad Athletic Club and Zesco United from Morocco and Zambia respectively.

Following the elimination of eternal rivals and record eight time champions, Al Ahly from the competition 24-hours earlier, Zamalek carried the hope of Egypt, and they did not disappoint in a game a point would have been enough for their continued stay.

Enyimba, champions in 2003 and 2004 remain winless after three matches despite making clear their intent in the opening minutes. After only 19 minutes, pony-tailed striker Ifeanyi Onuigbo forced a good save off Zamalek goalie Ahmed Shenawy before heading wide on the half-hour mark.

The closest Zamalek came at breaking the deadlock was on 34 minutes when Ibrahim Salah’s header from Ramzi Abdelhamid’s cross from the left missed narrowly.

The White Knights resumed on the same tempo with Ayman Hefny and Moustafa Fathi giving the Enyimba backline much cause to worry. The visitors eventually succumbed to the pressure in the 63rd minute when hard pressed Emmanuel Anyanwu in an attempt to clear the ball to safety saw his shot bounce off the hands of captain Chinedu Odoji for a penalty.

Morsi elected himself for the penalty, shooting past Theophilus Afelokhai for the only goal of the match.

On 74 minutes, Enyimba were unlucky to draw even after a Chima Akas long range shot came off the crossbar with Shenawy completely beaten.

Zamalek have six points, three behind leaders Sundowns who travel to Port Harcourt as guests of Enyimba in the group’s ultimate fixture, which will only serve academic purposes.

Sundowns will face the runner-up from Group A whilst Zamalek squares the group winner for a place at the final.

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results

FS Stars 0-2 Chiefs
Arrows 1-1 SuperSport Utd
Baroka 1-4 Chippa Utd
Highlands 1-1 CT City

fixtures

Arrows vs Chippa Utd
FS Stars vs Maritzburg Utd
P Stars vs Celtic
Chiefs vs Ajax CT

psl log

# Team GP Pts
1 Kaizer Chiefs 5 10
2 Arrows 5 10
3 Orlando Pirates 4 8
4 Cape Town City 5 8
5 Polokwane City 5 8
6 Chippa United 3 7
7 Bidvest Wits 3 7
8 SuperSport United 5 6
9 Platinum Stars 4 5
10 Highlands Park 4 4
11 Maritzburg Utd 5 4
12 Baroka FC 5 4
13 Ajax Cape Town 4 2
14 Free State Stars 5 2
15 Sundowns 1 1
16 Bloem Celtic 3 1