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Pyramids FC miss out on first trophy as Morocco's Berkane win Confederation Cup
Published in Ahram Online on 25 - 10 - 2020

Egypt's Pyramids FC missed out on winning their first ever trophy on their African Confederation Cup debut, with Morocco's RS Berkane beating them 1-0 in the final in Rabat to win the title for the first time on Sunday.
A fortuitous first-half own goal from Ahmed Mansour was all what Berkane needed to make up for last year's Confed Cup final loss to Egypt's Zamalek, with Pyramids offering little resistance.
Berkane finished with ten men after Bakr El Helali was dismissed for a reckless challenge on Omar Gaber three minutes from time, but it was too late for Pyramids to pounce.
The big-spending Emirati-owned club had enjoyed a fairytale run to the final that included eight successive away victories, a 100 percent record on the road. However, they looked sluggish against Berkane, struggling for openings throughout.
Having also exited the Egypt Cup, Pyramids will finish the season empty handed. Their only hope now lies in finishing second in the Egyptian Premier League to earn a spot at next season's African Champions League.
This hope will be dashed if Zamalek, who are one point ahead of Pyramids, defeat Ismaily in their final domestic league game on Monday.
Decision backfires
The decision of Pyramids coach Ante Cacic to play without a recognised striker backfired in the first half, with the team unable to mount any threats.
Ghanaian striker John Antwi was surprisingly dropped to the bench, with Eric Traore taking his place as a lone frontman. The Burkinabe winger hardly made an impact, leaving Berkane's defence untroubled.
Berkane pressed Pyramids high up the pitch from the very beginning, with veteran forward Mouhssine Iajour cutting ahead of defender Ali Gabr to head over the bar from a right-wing cross in the first minute.
They deservedly went ahead on 15 minutes, a free kick causing mayhem in the area before falling to Iajour, whose low shot rolled into the net after coming off the back of sliding defender Mansour.
It was not until the 65th minute when Cacic introduced Antwi, a few minutes after winger Ibrahim Hassan also came on.
Hassan made an instant impact as a substitute against Horoya AC when he broke the deadlock in the semi-final, but he was well shackled against a disciplined Berkane side.
Pyramids only went close on a couple of occasions, winger Mohamed Farouk cutting ahead of his marker to miss the target with a side-footed effort and Antwi rising unmarked to head just wide from a Farouk cross.
At the other end, Hamdi Laachir could have put the result to bed on 72 minutes but blasted high over with the goal at his mercy following a terrible defensive mix-up.
Berkane held firm in the latter stages and Pyramids barely had time to capitalize on their numerical advantage in stoppage time. Tempers frayed at the end but the final whistle brought joyous scenes among the Moroccans, with Pyramids players falling to the ground in despair.
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