Leopards hand Zamalek first loss

Leopards hand Zamalek first loss
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Published August 10th, 2015 - 21:15 GMT via SyndiGate.info

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Zamalek team
Zamalek team

Congolese side AC Leopards handed Zamalek their first loss at the group phase, a lone goal win in their Group B Day Four clash on Sunday in Dolisie.

Tresor Mukenga Mukendi scored the only goal on 61 minutes denying Zamalek the luxury of qualifying for the last four with two games remaining.

A draw for the visitors would have also ensured South Africa's Orlando Pirates join them into the last four, making the group's final two games serve academic purposes. But the 2012 winners extended the suspense till at least the penultimate round, whilst ending the unbeaten run of the newly crowned Egyptian champions.

Zamalek share top spot with Pirates on nine points apiece but with superior goals, five more than Leopards with three-time winners CS Sfaxien of Tunisia at the depth with just a point from four games.

Playing in honour of captain Rudy Bhebey Ndey, who sustained a serious injury in the reverse fixture a fortnight ago in Cairo and has since remained in a hospital in the Egyptian capital, Leopards put up one of their best showings this season in the encounter highlighted by series of fluffed chances from both sides.

Cesair Gandze had a good chance to open the scores from a Mukendi pass in the opening minutes, but surprisingly blasted wide with only Zamalek goalie Mohamed Ali to beat. A similar chance fell to Gandze again on 28 minutes, only for him to volley off target.

Olympic star, Mahmoud Abdelmoneam 'Kahraba', one of the new additions to the Zamalek squad led runs into the Congolese half supported by captain Hazem Emam but leading marksman Hazem Emam was kept at bay by his markers.

The visitors started stronger after the break and nearly levelled on 57 minutes. Slippery Moustafa Fathi broke through the Leopards backline and laid to Kahraba needing just a tap but the latter shot wide.

Four minutes later, Mukendi broke the deadlock with a low shot that hit the post before rolling into the net leaving Ali with no option.

Leopards held on to victory to give themselves a glimmer of hope as far as the group's two tickets for the last four are concerned.

The Congolese will travel south to face Pirates in the penultimate fixture in two weeks before wrapping it up with a date against Sfaxien at home in mid-September.

© 2015 AllAfrica Global Media.

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