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Dominant start lifts Zamalek over Al Ahly to 2020-21 Egypt Cup title

Early goals from Ahmed Sayed “Zizo” and Emam Ashour highlighted an inspired start to the delayed 2020-21 Egypt Cup final for Zamalek SC and that was enough for the club to capture its 28th Egypt Cup at the expense of eternal rivals Al Ahly on Thursday, winning 2-1. Hossam Hassan got a goal back for Ahly as they pushed hard in the second half to atone for a drowsy start but it was too little too late and Zamalek held off the late charge for a morale boosting victory. With the 2021-22 Egyptian Premier League entering its final stretch, Zamalek and victorious manager Jesualdo Ferreira will be hoping they can carry the momentum on to another league title as they attempt to hold off Ahly and Pyramids FC.

When it came to the early stages in the match it was an absolute nightmare for Ahly supporters with their team looking dazed against a Zamalek side that were hungry right out of the gate. A couple of aggressive challenges leading to yellow cards highlighted Zamalek’s intent but also led to the award of an early goal in the 6th minute. Zamalek right back Hamza Mathlouthi sent a long ball over the top of the Ahly defense and the 2022 CAF Men’s Interclub Player of the Year winner, Ahly goalkeeper Mohamed El Shenawy, was beaten to the ball by forward Seifeddine Jaziri when he came out of his penalty area to claim. Jaziri’s subsequent cross found Zizo for a headed goal past the scrambling Ahly defense.

Ahly continued to look asleep and uninspired, especially in defense with poor decision making on the ball. One of those moments led to Zamalek’s second after the half hour mark after El Shenawy did well to close down Jaziri as he attempted to finish a breakaway. However, Ahly center back Yasser Ibrahim was caught on the ball as he failed to clear and Zamalek’s Achraf Bencharki collected to find Ashour outside the penalty area. Ashour played a slick combination with Zizo and curled a brilliant shot beyond El Shenawy and in off the post for a goal that crushed Ahly morale.

Three halftime substitutes from Ahly manager Ricardo Soares brought some energy from his side after the break and the Red Devils fought back by cutting into the deficit in the 55th minute. A lofted ball into the box found one of the substitutes, the rarely used Mohamed Mahmoud, who headed into the path of Hassan who calmly chested the ball past advancing Zamalek keeper Mohamed Awad and tapped into an empty net. The comeback effort was not enough in the end as Ahly could not find their way past a stubborn Zamalek defensive wall and The White Castle celebrated wildly when the final whistle arrived.

Highlights from the Cairo International Stadium are below.

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