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Saturday, December 2, 2023

CAF Confederation Cup: Zamalek avoid shock exit with sensational second half escape

Egyptian titans Zamalek appeared to be down and out at home after falling behind early in the second leg of their 2023-24 CAF Confederation Cup qualifying clash with Djibouti’s AS Arta but The White Castle produced a furious rally in the second half. The hosts scored four goals after halftime including an 89th minute match winner from Hamza Mathlouthi to win 4-1 and edge AS Arta 4-3 on aggregate. The famous Cairo club qualify for the group stage with the dramatic victory.

The club from Djibouti got off to an excellent start in Cairo with the opening goal from Hassan Warsama, which gave the visitors an important away goal that required Zamalek to score four goals. Zamalek began their revival with Youssef Obama’s goal in the 49th minute which was quickly followed by a strike from veteran attacker Shikabala. AS Arta stopped the bleeding for twenty minutes but after Zamalek star Zizo added another goal in the 74th minute it set the stage for a late winner from Mathlouthi that saw the home supporters erupt in delight.

Elsewhere it was a successful day for Ghana’s Dreams FC, Guinean club Académie SOAR and Libya’s Abu Salim SC who all joined Zamalek in the group stage. Dreams FC drew 1-1 with FC Kallon in Sierra Leone to win 3-2 on aggregate while Académie SOAR came back from a 2-1 first leg defeat at home to win 2-0 at Ivorian club AFAD Djékanou and advance.

Abu Salim lost 3-2 in Uganda against KCCA FC but it was not enough for the Ugandan club to overturn a 3-1 first leg defeat. In Kigali, Rwandan club Rayon Sports and Libya’s Al-Hilal Benghazi finished level at one goal each once again to set up a penalty kick shootout. The hosts from Rwanda lost their composure in spot kicks with two failed attempts at the start, allowing Hilal to advance after they converted all four of their penalties.

Highlights of Zamalek’s victory are below. Highlights from the other matches on Saturday will be added as they become available.


KCCA FC (Uganda) 3-2 Abu Salim SC (Libya)

Abu Salim advance 5-4 on aggregate

AFAD Djékanou (Ivory Coast) 0-2 Académie SOAR (Guinea)

Académie SOAR advance 3-2 on aggregate

FC Kallon (Sierra Leone) 1-1 Dreams FC (Ghana)

Dreams FC advance 3-2 on aggregate

Zamalek (Egypt) 4-1 AS Arta (Djibouti)

Zamalek advance 4-3 on aggregate

Rayon Sports (Rwanda) 1-1 Al-Hilal Benghazi (Libya)

Tied 2-2 on aggregate; Al-Hilal Benghazi win 4-2 in penalty kicks

Sagrada Esperança (Angola) 1-0 Ferroviário de Maputo (Mozambique)

Tied 1-1 on aggregate; Sagrada Esperança win 5-3 in penalty kicks


Zamalek 4-1 AS Arta