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Sunday, October 1, 2023

Arab Club Champions Cup: Zamalek and Raja off to winning starts, struggles continue for African clubs in Groups A & B

After a rough first day for Africa’s representatives at the 2023 King Salman Club Cup, there have been a couple of victories for North African clubs at the competition but the struggle continued in most groups. Group C and Group D began play on Friday with wins for Egypt’s Zamalek and Raja Casablanca of Morocco for Africa’s first triumphs at the competition. However on Sunday the issues of scoring goals continued for Wydad and Tunisian representatives CS Sfaxien and Espérance ST.

Zamalek, who had a difficult 2022-23 season but began to find their form at the end, dominated Monastir. An own goal in the first half was followed by a goal from Ahmed Sayed “Zizo” to give The White Castle a two-goal lead by halftime. Abdallah Sayed came on as a substitute and tripled his goal total for the season with two strikes to complete the victory in the second half.

In another all-African battle on Friday it was Raja CA of Morocco who came out on top over Algerian champions CR Belouizdad by a 2-1 score. Raja, runners-up of the Moroccan Throne Cup, came back from a one-goal deficit with a penalty kick from Yousri Bouzok before a late winner from rarely used reserve defender Bouchaib Arrassi was the difference.

On Sunday the difficulties continued for African clubs in Groups A and B. Al Ahli Tripoli and Wydad AC played to a 1-1 draw with Wydad finding the opener through Ayoub El Amloud before Ahmed Krawaa leveled for Ahli early in the second half. Both teams are tied on two points each in second and third place in Group B with Qatar’s Al-Sadd topping the group and Saudi club Al-Hilal in last place on one point.

In Group A two clubs from Tunisia have only one point between them through two matches each. Espérance ST continue to be in miserable form after the departure of key players but managed to earn their first point in a 0-0 draw with Iraqi champions Al Shorta. CS Sfaxien still have zero points following a 1-0 defeat to group leaders Al-Ittihad of Saudi Arabia. Karim Benzema once again scored to make it two goals in two matches against African club competition.

Scores and highlights from Friday and Sunday are below.

Scores

July 28

Group D

Raja CA (MAR) 2-1 CR Belouizdad (ALG)

Group C

Zamalek (EGY) 4-0 US Monastir (TUN)

July 30

Group B

Wydad AC (MAR) 1-1 Al Ahli Tripoli (LBY)

Group A

Al Shorta (IRQ) 0-0 Espérance ST (TUN)

Al-Ittihad (KSA) 1-0 CS Sfaxien (TUN)

Highlights

Zamalek (EGY) 4-0 US Monastir (TUN)

Raja CA (MAR) 2-1 CR Belouizdad (ALG)

Wydad AC (MAR) 1-1 Al Ahli Tripoli (LBY)