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Near and far
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 04 - 09 - 2008

Ahli are close to a semi-final spot in the Champions League. Zamalek's chances are getting slimmer, Ahmed Morsy reports
Though Ahli handed arch-rivals Zamalek a gift by beating Dynamos Harare, Zamalek failed to take advantage by suffering a thumping defeat inflicted by ASEC Mimosas.
Zamalek went down to ASEC Mimosas 3-0 in Abidjan in the CAF Champions League Group A game on Sunday. One day earlier, Ahli beat Dynamos Harare 1-0 away to give Zamalek a chance to clinch second spot. Zamalek did not avail themselves of the opportunity.
After beating Zamalek, ASEC jumped from rock bottom to second place in the group with five points, while Zamalek remain with four points in third place. The Ivorians were in full control of play at Stade Felix Houphouet-Boigny, despite having only one goal to their record prior to the game.
The breakthrough came after 25 minutes, courtesy of a fluke by Moussa Guindo, whose attempted cross flew over Mohamed Abdel-Monsef into the net.
Shortly after the break, Zamalek were unlucky again when Junior Agogo's effort came off the post, in what was arguably the best chance for the visitors. ASEC's assault was increasingly intensifying in the second half and their efforts paid off in the 68th minute.
Substitute Antoine N'Gossan waltzed around Mahmoud Fathallah at the left flank before feeding Sinaly Bamba with a deft pass, notching home the second from close range.
Five minutes later, ASEC were awarded a penalty after Abdel-Monsef fouled an opponent. N'Gossan converted it comfortably into the net.
To add to Zamalek's woes, skipper Ayman Abdel-Aziz and key defender Wissem Al-Abdi were both cautioned in the game, which means they will not be available in the African domestic derby against Ahli on 14 September.
In the same group, Mohamed Barakat scored the only goal in Harare on Saturday, almost ensuring the Egyptian club a CAF Champions League semi-finals place.
The Reds are now clear on top of Group A with 10 points, seven ahead of fourth-placed Dynamos who have only three points.
The Egyptian champions' line-up included Mohamed Abu Treika for the first time this season, but Ahmed Hassan had to settle for a bench role once again.
After 10 minutes, the slick Abu Treika sent Mohamed Barakat clear on goal with a trademark through pass and the latter steered home a to beat Willardd Manyatera. Two minutes later, Treika trapped the ball on his chest and targeted it home but the referee cancelled the goal for handball.
Midway through the first half, the lively Abu Treika came close to scoring a spectacular strike, but his effort was parried by the Dynamos keeper. In the 32nd minute, Ahli were unlucky to have another goal dubiously disallowed before half-time, this time Gilberto being on target.
On the hour mark, Hassan came on for Flavio Amado as Manuel Jose was looking to keep possession in midfield. Thus, Ahli held on to their lead to secure three precious points and make life more difficult for quarter- final debutantes Dynamos.
In Group B, DR Congo's TP Mazembe inflicted a heavy 3-0 defeat on visiting Enyimba of Nigeria in the same championship. Defeat for the Lubumbashi side would have left them unable to make it through to the last four, but they kept the group wide open with a scintillating display.
Enyimba were missing several key players, including top-scorer Stephen Worgu, but TP Mazembe were always in control.
In the other match in Group B, Coton Sport of Cameroon scored a narrow 1-0 win over visiting Sadanes side Al-Hilal. Baba Ousmaila got the only goal of the game and Hilal had Alaeldin Gibril sent off midway through the second half.
In the CAF Confederations Cup, Angolan side Interclube de Luanda scored late in the game to beat Haras Al-Hedoud of Egypt 1-0 in home in the CAF Confederations Cup group stage.
Andre Zinga scored in the 81st minute to clinch the full points of the game and revive his side's hopes.
Haras Al-Hedoud are second with three points just one behind leaders Sfaxien.
The Egyptian side produced a strong performance but awful marking in the dying minutes allowed Zinga to jump all over the defence and place a well-placed header in the back of the net. Tunisian rivals Club Africain and CS Sfaxien met in a disappointing 0-0 draw in Tunis. Club Africain were missing several key players through injury and suspension, but their visitors did not capitalise.
In Group B, all four teams now have three points. JS Kabylie of Algeria beat Tunisia's African Champions Etoile du Sahel 1-0 on Friday.
Nassim Oussalah's second-half strike earned JS Kabylie their first points in the group phase of this competition.
A last-gasp goal by Eric Bekoe gave Ghana's Asante Kotoko a narrow 1-0 victory over Al Merreikh of Sudan on Sunday.

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