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Thursday, December 7, 2023

Zamalek finish up miserable CAFCL campaign with scoreless home draw against Angola’s Sagrada

Egyptian side Zamalek threatened plenty of times but could not find a decisive finish in Cairo against Angolan club Sagrada Esperança, settling for a disappointing 0-0 draw on Friday. Zamalek finish in third place in Group D with the result and finish their group stage fixtures without a single victory, capping off a second straight CAFCL campaign where they failed to meet expectations by being eliminated without reaching the quarterfinals. Sagrada will be satisfied with the result but finish in last place with only two points from six games.

Sagrada were content to concede possession to the hosts and did well to keep Zamalek honest with counter attacks. Zamalek should have taken the lead in the 7th minute when Islam Gaber floated an excellent cross from the left wing, but center back Mahmoud Alaa sent his header wide when he should have scored.

The visitors posed a bit of a threat at times in the first half but did not threaten backup Zamalek keeper Mohamed Awad too much before halftime arrived. Shortly after the break, Zamalek had a second excellent look when a well played sequence saw Achraf Bencharki set up veteran left back Mohamed Abdel Shafy for a clear look on goal but his blasted effort rocketed back off the post with Sagrada keeper Gerson clearly beaten.

Zamalek failed to find the breakthrough in the second half and nearly suffered a shock home defeat. In the 78th minute Sagrada exposed the home defense when a ball from midfield sent playmaker Carlinhos on the run, but after creating an open look with a composed pass Joaquim Paciencia spurned the excellent opportunity by blasting high and wide. Five minutes later Carlinhos had just enough room to cut inside and attempt a curling shot from 30 yards out but the ball went just wide of a diving Awad and the far post.

Highlights of the match are below.