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Zamalek and Raja looking to secure a champions league final spot

Moroccan club Raja hosts Egypt's Zamalek in the Champions League semi-finals with both teams aspiring to set a foot in the final game.

Zamalek and Raja looking to secure a champions league final spot
Mohamed Hossam EFE

Raja Casablanca hosts Egyptian Zamalek in the CAF Champions League semi-final first leg on Sunday at Mohamed V stadium with the return leg in Cairo scheduled for 24 October.

The Egyptian side needs to make up for the unsuccessful domestic season with an African coronation they have been in search of since 2002 after their historic rival Al-Ahly secured this season's league title weeks before the end of the competition.

Meanwhile, Raja, who snatched the Moroccan league title out of Wydad's hands in the last round of the competition, is hoping for further success and an exceptional end to the season by claiming the African title.

Zamalek has been suffering lately on the administrative level after their former French coach Patrice Carteron decided to step down and join the Saudi-Arabian side Al-Taawon which resulted in a performance setback. The club replaced Carteron with Portuguese coach Jimmy Pacheco.

Raja Casablanca is enjoying a period of stability as Jamal Sellami has been at the helm since 2019. The coach managed to lead the team to the African tournament semi-finals and the league title, finishing one point ahead of their rivals Wydad. Ironically Salami was appointed as manager to replace Patrice Carteron.

Zamalek and Raja absentees

Raja will miss the efforts of Abdeljalil Jbira, Abderrahim Achchakir, and Omar Boutayeb due to injury, in addition to Zamalek loanee Hamid Ahdad, whose contract states that he can't participate in the case that the two teams face off in the African competition.

Zamalek's squad also will suffer from the absence of Shikabala, Mohamed Abdel Shafy, and Hazem Imam, whose absence has caused a dilemma as the squad doesn't have a substitute in the same position. Tunisian midfielder Ferjani Sassi was the last player to join Zamalek's absentee list as he tested positive for Covid-19 while on international duty.

Head to head encounters:

The two giants have played each other on four different occasions, with Zamalek claiming victory twice, Raja winning once, and the pair seeing out one draw.

Zamalek is striving for a sixth title after a long 18-year wait. The Egyptian giants made it to the final in 2016 but lost to Mamelodi Sundowns 3-1 on aggregate. Raja Casablanca is hoping for their third African coronation after a drought of more than 20 years.