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One in, one out
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 25 - 09 - 2008

With qualification to the semi-final already guaranteed, Ahli were satisfied with their home draw against ASEC in the CAF Champions league. As for Zamalek, they go back to the drawing board. Ahmed Morsy reports
Nigeria's Enyimba, who with nine points finished second in Group B, will face Ahli in the CAF Champions league semi-final even after suffering an embarrassing 3-0 away defeat to Coton Sport of Cameroon, which finished first in Group B with 10 points, in their last match in the group phase. Coton Sport will face Dynamos Harare in the other semi-final.
Last season's runners-up, Ahli of Egypt finished atop Group A with 12 points after getting one point from their 2-2 home draw to Ivory Coast's ASEC Mimosas on Sunday.
In the other Group A match, Zamalek failed to go beyond the group stage after slumping to a 1-0 defeat to Zimbabwe's Dynamos, who booked a last-four berth.
Ahli were already assured of a last-four berth even before the game, which is why Ahli's Portuguese coach Manuel Jose rested several regulars, fielding forgotten duo Osama Hosni and Ahmed Belal upfront.
Egypt's other entry, Zamalek, had no choice but to win in Harare to advance to the semis for the first time since 2005. But they produced an ineffective display.
Despite needing a win to book their place in the Champions League semis, Zamalek failed to threaten Dynamos goal in the first half and were lucky not to fall behind on several occasions.
In the CAF Confederation Cup, a dreadful blunder by Egypt's Haras Al-Hedoud keeper Mathurin Kameni cost his side the top spot in Group A of the CAF Confederation Cup after a 1-0 away defeat to defending champions Sfaxien of Tunisia.
Sfaxien defender Issam Merdassi provided the winning goal in the 26th minute when his low free kick squirmed beneath Cameroonian keeper Kameni, brother of Espanyol guardian Carlos, to condemn Al-Hedoud to their second defeat in the group.
Things went from bad to worse when Kameni received a straight red card one minute from time after bringing down Agyeman Opoku on the edge of the area. Having already made three substitutions, Al-Hedoud coach Tarek El-Ashri had no choice but to play striker Ahmed Abdel-Ghani as a goalkeeper.
Abdel-Ghani literally rose to the occasions, tipping a fierce free-kick seconds before the final whistle.
Al-Hedoud, who beat Sfaxien 3-1 in Alexandria two weeks ago, slipped to third in the group with six points, one adrift of the Tunisian clubs Sfaxien and African who top the group with seven points after their away 2-1 victory over Interclub of Angola.


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