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Expected exit
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 18 - 04 - 2019

Ahly are out of the African Champions League while Zamalek are through to the semis of the Confederation Cup.
The quarter-finals of the African Champions League saw Ahly eliminated despite a 1-0 victory over Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa in Alexandria on Saturday in the second leg.
Despite the 5-0 drubbing of the Egyptian side suffered in Pretoria a week earlier, 30,000 Ahly spectators turned up at Borg El Arab Stadium for a seemingly impossible task. Moroccan striker Walid Azaro scored Ahly's only goal in the second half, his first of this Champions League campaign.
Ahli, the record eight-time winners of the championship, had reached the finals the last two years but had not won the trophy since 2013.
The fact that Ahly needed five goals against Mamelodi but scored just one attests as much to the strength of Sundowns as to the weakness of Ahly, dubbed the African Club of the Century.
The following day, Egypt's Zamalek confirmed their qualification to the semi-finals of the second tier Confederation Cup after a 1-0 victory over Morocco's Hassania Agadir in Suez Stadium. The two teams had played to a scoreless draw in the first leg match in Agadir.
Ibrahim Hassan netted Zamalek's sole goal four minutes into the second half, sending home a left-foot volley pushed by the keeper into the net at the near post.
In the dying minutes the referee cancelled two goals, one for each side. The ambitious Moroccan side appeared to have levelled the score with four minutes to go when a goal-mouth scramble looked to have crossed the goal-line before keeper Mahmoud Gennesh blocked it with his legs.
Hassan scored again after finishing off a breakaway but his goal was chalked off for handball, although television replays showed otherwise.
According to reports, the Moroccan club have lodged an official complaint to the African federation (CAF) against the referee for cancelling the goal and also denying the team a penalty kick. An equaliser would have secured Agadir a berth in the semi-finals based on the away-goals rule.
Zamalek have yet to win the Confederation Cup. They have won the more prestigious Champions League five times.
Zamalek are expected to face the winner of the remaining quarter-final clash between Tunisia's Etoile Sahel and Sudan's Hilal. The game, which was scheduled to be held in Sudan, is expected to take place in a neutral country because of the unstable political situation in Sudan following the recent ouster of long-time President Omar Al-Bashir.


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