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Sunday, December 10, 2023

Pyramids clinch qualification to CAFCC quarter-finals, Raja march to easy victory in Group D

CAF Confederation Cup Group D favorites Raja Casablanca and Pyramids FC booked their spots in the final eight with victories on Wednesday. Raja’s easy 3-0 victory over eliminated Tanzanian side Namungo confirmed the Moroccan giants’ perfect record in the group stage, scoring eleven goals while conceding zero. The matchup with more on the line saw Egyptian side Pyramids FC do just enough in a 1-0 road victory against Zambia’s Nkana FC in Ndola, creating a gap that third-placed Nkana cannot close on the last day.

Raja struck early and often, tallying twice in the opening 15 minutes and then adding a third later on in the first-half for insurance on the road in Dar es Salaam. Dutch-born midfielder Ilias Haddad was the beneficiary of poor goalkeeping by Namungo backup Nourdine Balora, the Burkinabé failing to connect on his punch for to allow Haddad’s header to slowly bounce into the open net. Congolese midfielder Fabrice Ngoma headed in another just before the quarter-hour mark and rarely-used forward Zakaria Habti produced a tidy finish to put the game beyond reach for the hosts.

In the other match, Nkana attacked and were unafraid to take the game to Pyramids, but found no reward from their 15 attempts on goal. Ten minutes in Pyramids nearly snuck in an opening goal when a bouncing punt up the field from keeper Sherif Ekramy found an opportunistic Mohamed Farouk, who put his header over the advancing Nkana goalkeeper but off the post and wide.

Nkana made plenty of forays forward but the better chances fell to the visitors. Ramadan Sobhi’s wonderful strike went off the post and bounced clear right after halftime, but the Pyramids star would be involved in the 78th minute winner. Sobhi’s well-weighted through ball sent in veteran Abdallah Said, who made no mistake to finish past goalie Moses Mapulanga and seal Pyramids’ passage to the quarter-finals.

Highlights are below from both games.

Nkana 0-1 Pyramids

Namungo 0-3 Raja Casablanca