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A victory and a loss
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 01 - 05 - 2008

FIVE-TIME African champions, Ahli were the biggest casualty of the first leg matches of round 16 of the CAF Champions League last Sunday, after a 1-2 defeat by Platinum Stars of South Africa in Pretoria. Zamalek, on the other hand, used home advantage to good effect to entertain its Cairo fans before the Easter celebrations by beating Angola's GD Interclube 3-0.
The result from the game in Pretoria makes the continental debutants the first South African side to beat the Egyptian giants in a CAF Champions League match.
Midfielder Edward Williams' late goal was all the Stars needed to beat the continent's most decorated club. The Tycoons who had the tie shifted to the Super Stadium in Atteridgeville took the lead 12 minutes into the second half through Koketso Mmotong, who after benefiting from a brilliant pass from Simba Marumo shot past the Ahli goalie.
Ahli, who were playing for the first time in the prestigious club championships after drawing in the two previous stages leveled through striker Emad Moteab eight minutes from time before Williams struck home the match winner in the 91st minute.
Ahli assistant coach Hossam El-Badri said his team paid dearly for underrating their hosts but promised to make amends in the return encounter in a fortnight.
"We admit that we underrated our hosts and paid heavily for that. We hope to make amends in the second leg," he said.
In Cairo, fellow five-time African champions Zamalek restored some pride for Egyptian football courtesy to a 3-0 win against Angola's GD Interclube.
Goals from Amr Al-Safti, Shikabala and midfielder Mohamed Ibrahim ensured Zamalek inched closer to the mini-league stage since 2005.
The winners of the Champions League are not only richly rewarded but have also qualified for the end-of-year FIFA Club World Cup in Japan.


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