Football

Zamalek out to defend as Raja dream of historic qualification

Zamalek of Egypt on a mission to defend the lead they snatched in Casablanca while Moroccans are confident they can embarrass the Egyptian giants.

Zamalek out to defend as Raja dream of historic qualification
AMR ABDALLAH DALSH REUTERS

Egyptian side Zamalek host Raja Casablanca at Cairo international stadium on Wednesday where the return leg of the African champions league semi-final is set to take place as both teams are eyeing a place in the tournament's final game after the first chapter of the encounter ended with a 1-0 victory for the Egyptian side.

The return leg was postponed by CAF twice over the past two weeks; the first time was due to a widespread of Covid-19 infection among Raja players and staff, while the second delay was as per a request from Egyptian authorities for safety reasons. The game was finally decided to be held on 4 November while the finale has been put off until the 27th of the same month.

Squads' absentees:

Both teams benefited from the postponement of the game as they were able to recover as many injured players as possible in addition to those who could beat covid-19. However several Raja players couldn't make it to the game's squad while Zamalek will miss the efforts of only one player. Zamalek's Youssef Obama has sustained a knee injury hours before the anticipated game which led the Portuguese coach Jaime Pacheco to rule him out of the face-off.

On the other hand, Raja's goalkeeper Anas Zniti along with the defending duo Mohamed Douik and Abdeljalil Jbira were unable to join the Moroccan group who traveled to Cairo as they hadn't recovered from Covid-19. The defender Omar Boutayeb also couldn’t join the group due to the injury he picked up against RS Berkane in the domestic league.

History and match facts:

Zamalek and Raja have met 3 times in the Champions League before with Zamalek having secured the victory in 2 contests while the third encounter ended in a draw. The Egyptian side's situation appears more favourable on paper they have won 4 and drawn in one out of their last 5 meetings with Moroccan clubs in the CAF Champions League.

Raja on the other side, have never been able to score against Zamalek in the Champions League. The Moroccans have lost their last two CAF Champions League games, while they have they lost three in a row in the competition. They have lost only three of their last 20 matches in the CAF Champions League, losing only once in their last 9 away fixtures.