The most important game on Saturday in CAF Champions League Group D play featured Zamalek grabbing a valuable 2-0 road victory over MC Alger in Algiers. Zamalek’s victory keeps the Egyptian Premier League side alive and three points behind MCA, but the White Knights will still need a victory combined with an MCA loss on the final day. In the other match group winners Espérance of Tunisia fell 2-1 on the road in Senegal to an energized Teungueth FC.
A renewed Zamalek finally showed the anticipated spark under new manager Patrice Carteron, maintaining a sense of urgency throughout the 90 minutes. It was the first half where the visitors made their impact by being opportunistic at important moments. In the 7th minute an excellent buildup led to a simple, low Achraf Bencharki cross that was deflected into the path of Youssef Ibrahim “Obama”. Zamalek’s current leading scorer slyly finished into the top corner to confirm the team’s dream start.
In the 33rd minute the visitors doubled their advantage with another buildup. The ball ended up out on the right flank where veteran winger Shikabala had plenty of space to work his magic and cut inside to shoot past MCA goalkeeper Farid Chaal. The Algerian side fought hard to get back in the game but lacked the attacking firepower to trouble a composed Zamalek side in a match the hosts may look back on with serious regret.
Meanwhile in the other match, Espérance suffered quite the upset against scrappy Teungueth to give the Senegalese club another milestone victory, their first CAFCL group stage win. Espérance brought a mostly first-strength squad to Dakar and looked to be in good shape when young star midfielder Mohamed Ben Romdhane curled in a beautiful 28th minute free-kick, his fourth CAFCL goal this season.
However, within ten minutes of Ben Romdhane’s opener the hosts responded. A deflected cross popped up into the air in front of the goal and Serigne Niang showed quick instincts to perform an overhead kick into the net from close range. The Senegalese club stayed in the game and a bit of fortune gave them their deserved winner in the 72nd minute. Espérance goalkeeper Farouk Ben Mustapha went wandering too far out on a cross and Baye Diop looped his header over to give Teungueth three points.
In the group’s final games Zamalek will host Teungueth looking for their win while hoping that Espérance will defeat MCA at home. Highlights of the games are below.