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Thursday, December 7, 2023

Raja win clash of Group D titans over Pyramids FC, Nkana gain ground with victory over Namungo

Group C has a clear leader following Sunday’s results in the CAF Confederation Cup as Raja Casablanca defeated Egypt’s Pyramids FC 2-0 to emerge as group leader. Missed opportunities and early defensive breakdowns were the story of the day for Pyramids, who drop down to second place with six points while Raja have nine. In the group’s earlier game Nkana FC of Zambia came out of Dar es Salaam with a 1-0 victory over Namungo after a delayed kick off to keep their campaign’s hopes alive.

Pyramids came out on the road energized to attack and get a victory but squandered a few early opportunities to obtain an early lead. The most egregious was in the opening ten minutes, when Islam Issa ran onto the rebound from a shot cleared off the line but somehow put his shot over the net from close range. It was costly for Pyramids because in the 15th minute a Raja corner-kick ran through the box, leading to a weak shot that inexplicably snuck past disoriented goalkeeper Sherif Ekramy.

Only five minutes later a comical period of defensive play from Pyramids helped Raja to their second. Center-back Ali Gabr thumped a clearance off his own teammate and Mohsine Moutaouali reacted quickly to head Ben Malango in on goal. The Congolese striker made no mistake beating Ekramy for his first CAF Confederation Cup goal of the season. Pyramids continued to lack finishing for the remainder of the game as Raja clinched the three points.

In Dar es Salaam the road team Nkana FC had their Covid-19 test results delayed, resulting in an hour-long delay before kick off was underway. The delay did not deter the Zambian team from turning in a professional performance and using their experience to get the victory. The lone goal came in the 69th minute when Zimbabwe international Takudzwa Chimwemwe chipped an excellent pass to Diamond Chikwekwe, who took the ball down and finished past Jonathan Nahimana in the Namungo goal to make the difference in an even game.

Nkana now move into third place with their first three points of the group stage while Namungo are all but out, still possessing zero points. Highlights of both games are below.

Raja Casablanca 2-0 Pyramids FC

Namungo 0-1 Nkana FC