Caf Champions League: Zamalek down Raja Casablanca to set up Ahly final

Achraf Bencharki of Zamalek
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The African title will be settled in an all-Egyptian final after the White Knights downed the Moroccan champions

SC Zamalek defeated Raja Casablanca 3-1 on the night and 4-1 on aggregate to win the second leg of their Caf Champions League semi-final to set up a mouth-watering final with Al-Ahly.

The match was rescheduled to Wednesday evening due to a coronavirus outbreak in the Raja ranks, with Ahly’s passage to the final already being confirmed when they ousted Wydad Casablanca on October 23.

Achraf Bencharki’s header in the first leg had given the White Knight a one-goal advantage heading into the second showing between these two heavyweights, although Raja drew level early in the second half when Ben Malango fired them ahead from distance.

His effort, which took a deflection en route to goal, boosted Raja and exposed one or two Zamalek jitters during a cagey contest.

However, just after the hour mark, Ferjani Sassi struck to give Zamalek a 2-1 advantage overall, and as Raja pushed for a second, they were carved open.

Mostafa Mohamed was the hero late on as he netted twice to give the Egyptian giants a comfortable lead that was no less than they deserved.

Five minutes from time, he headed a powerful effort into the Raja net, and then—as desperation set in for the Moroccans—added another in the 88th minute when he slammed home to send Zamalek through in style.

“We congratulate ourselves and Zamalek supporters. I’m happy we defeated a team like Raja, they were a tough side and we respected them. God rewarded us for that,” goalscorer Mohamed told beIN Sports after the match.

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“[Coach Jaime] Pacheco told us at half time to not let their defenders build up with ease,” he added. “Raja opened the play by the end of the game because they had nothing to lose and that’s why they conceded goals.”

Ahly also enjoyed a convincing scoreline against Wydad, winning 5-1 on aggregate after a decisive first-leg triumph in Casablanca.

The final, between the two eternal rivals, will take place on November 27, and is due to be held at the Borg El Arab Stadium in Alexandria.