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Thursday, December 7, 2023

CAFCL: CR Belouizdad clinch quarterfinal spot in Algiers with victory over Zamalek

Algeria’s CR Belouizdad secured their ticket to the quarterfinals of the CAF Champions League with Friday’s 2-0 victory over Cairo club Zamalek at the Stade du 5 Juillet in Algiers. Zakaria Draoui made the breakthrough for CRB in the second half and Leonel Wamba’s goal arrived four minutes later to clinch a top two position in Group D and eliminate Zamalek with a round to spare. CRB are a point behind group leaders Espérance ST and will travel to face the Tunisian club in their final group match in two weeks.

Zamalek continued to struggle at creating opportunities but provided a tough challenge for their hosts. Goalkeeper Mohamed Sobhi did well to deny Wamba early on and then could only watch when forward Mohamed Belkhir dribbled around him in the 30th minute and fired just wide from a difficult angle. Zamalek’s best chance came five minutes later when Seifeddine Jaziri snuck between two CRB defenders but keeper Alexis Guendouz did brilliantly to save the Tunisian’s effort.

The pressure continued to increase on the visitors and CRB finally found the crucial breakthrough in the 75th minute. Belkhir drove to the end line and his low cross was deflected by Akram Bouras into the path of Draoui who finished with precision past Sobhi. Wamba finished off Zamalek’s third consecutive CAF Champions League group stage exit when the Cameroonian striker reacted quickly to touch into the goal after initially misjudging a Youssef Laouafi free kick service from the left wing.

Highlights of the Group D clash are below.