Reviving with back to back wins, Egyptian giants Zamalek are seeking the “happy ending” when they visit Algeria’s Nasr Hussein Dey this Sunday, as Group D of the second-tier CAF Confederation Cup reaches its ultimate stage.
A point in Algiers would be enough for the White Knights to go through to the quarterfinals and guarantee their place in the knockout stages draw, set for Wednesday 20 March 2019 in Cairo, Egypt.
After a dreadful start that saw them falling 4-2 in Nairobi to Kenyan champions Gor Mahia, then just managing two home 1-1 draws with Nasr Hussein Dey and Angola’s Petro Atletico, Zamalek revived with a vital away 1-0 victory over Petro, followed by an emphatic 4-0 home win against Gor Mahia in Alexandria last weekend.
And in Algiers Zamalek will seek to continue their winning form in a match they know one point would be enough to seal their place in the next round. Zamalek leads the pack with 8 points, one richer than Nasr Hussein Dey and Petro Atletico, compared to Gor Mahia’s six.
Backing on the fine form of their North African imports, Tunisian duo Ferjani Sassi and Hamdi Naguez, and Moroccan duet of Hamid Ahadad and Khaled Boutaib, Zamalek will try to return from the Algerian capital with a point at least to confirm their knockout place in a tournament they never won before. With nine CAF titles to their name, the White Knights want to add a new continental taste to their trophy-full cabinet.
But to do so, Zamalek will try to defy some historical odds that remark they never won a continental game in Algeria. In four previous visits for the North African country, Zamalek lost twice and drew in as many, with their last trip there ending in a 2-0 defeat to USM Alger in the 2017 CAF Champions League group stage.
Both sides played for a 1-1 draw last month in Alexandria. Zamalek took the lead at the quarter hour mark via Boutaib, only for Faouzi Yaya to snatch a last minute equalizer.
Gor Mahia entertains Petro Atletico in Kasarani in a simultaneous kickoff, with the pool’s top two sides qualifying to the quarterfinals, scheduled in the first weekend of next month.