Zamalek 3-1 Raja Casablanca: result, summary and goals
Zamalek 3-1 Raja Casablanca:
Apparently the final Zamalek goal was indeed chalked off for offside ....
Many thanks for your company tonight after a riveting CAF Champions League night in Cairo. Remember the date, 27 November and we'll be back again for the mouth watering Al Ahly-Zamalek final
Full time in Cairo. Zamalek are in the CAF Champions League final on 27 November where the face Al Ahly.
Gaber cared for Zamalek
Aggregate score 4-1 as we look forward to a Cairo derby final at the end of November.
The goal is given despite a strong hint of offside.
Normal time expired here in Cairo
The goal is given. Zamalek are heading to the 27 November final.
VAR to be consulted with a doubt about the Zamalek striker's position.
Tiredness a factor as a Raja player cramps up. Five minutes remain ...Zamalek hold firm and it's the White Knights who look the more likely to strike again.
Raja nearly steer the ball into their own net as Zamalek press.
Fine strike from Zizo but he drills the ball straight at the Raja stopper.
Whatever happens, there will be no penalty kicks tonight to decide who progresses to the final.
Less than 15' remain in Cairo. The tie wonderfully poised. Zamalek look to hang on as Raja press. Can the Green Eagles dig deep again and find the net as the clock ticks down.
Madkour off -Achakir on for Raja
As valiant as Raja's display has been, one senses that Zamalek have always been in control of the tie. Sat deep when they didn't need to score and were quick to amend their game plan when the needed to press and find the goal.
One senses that Zamalek will look to use all the 'game management' skills they possess and expect many an interruption as the clock ticks down.
Card for Ngah with the Cameroon player leading with his studs
Change for Raja El Wardi off and Al Makaazi on
Possession after 70': Zamalek 43/57 Raja (%)
We're back to the pattern that we've seen in most of the game. Zamalek now sit deep and invite Raja pressure.
So, just over 20 minutes for Raja to try and get back into the semi-final. A Raja goal would be gold dust for the men in green with the second away goal enough to put the Casablanca side in the final (should it remain 1-2).
Mahmoud Benhalib on / off Mohsine Moutouali, another Raja change
Fabrice Ngoma on for Raja - off Omar Arjoune
Bouamira formed into action as he dives to save .... Zamalek now turning up the heat on the action as the look for a goal
Far more urgency about Zamalek now as they look to get a foothold back of the action.
Difficult for the men in white to change their dynamic having been sitting so deep and playing so defensively in the first half. This Raja goal was not in the script for Fernando Pacheco !
Should the scoreline stay like this at the end of the 90 minutes, we go straight to a penalty shoot out with no extra time!
Raja visibly buoyed by the goal as the men in green look to kick on from the Molango strike. With Zamalek looking to press forward now, the pitch suddenly looks more open and even bigger.
What can Zamalek offer by way of reply ? The Egyptian side will need to amend their mindset and game plan.
So game on in Cairo !
Gooooooooooooool Raja score. Malango fires the men in green level with the aid of a slight deflection.
No changes it would appear at the break for either side.
Zamalek start the half in Cairo
The teams return to the pitch with just 45 minutes between one of these sides and the Alexandria final later this month.
The stats that reflect very much what we saw in the first 45' in Cairo. Raja have taken the game to the home side but just lacked carving out a clear-cut chance.
1st half shots: Zamalek 2-10 Raja
1st half possession: Zamalek 34%-66% Raja
The Borg El Arab stadium in Alexandria where the CAF Champions League final will be staged on 27 November. Who will join Al Ahly in the 2020 final ?
The whistle sounds in Cairo. It remains goalless here and that suits the Zamalek game plan. Raja have been brave but just need added poise and extra creativity in the final third. The tie is beautifully poised.
Raja work the ball well again with Moutouali just unable to control the ball as he breaks into the Zamalek box.
2 minutes of time to be added here in Cairo.
Zamalek clear but the status quo of the first half, Raja on the ball and the White Knights with ten men behind the ball.
Corner for Raja as we head towards the break.
Long range effort from Raja with the ball struck straight at the Zamalek keeper. Raja do need to create a sliver of creativity to unlock this Zamalek defence.
Bouamira in the Raja goal has been a virtual spectator all evening. Zamalek yet to test the Moroccan stopper.
Raja work the ball neatly at the edge of the Zamalek area with a swift one-two. The move breaks down and the men in white clear their lines.
Ten remain in the half. Scoreless in Cairo but Zamalek lead on aggregate.
As good as Raja have been in offensive play, Zamalek do look very solid and organised at the back. It will take something special from the Moroccan men to find a way past the Cairo side.
Half an hour gone and every credit to the Green Eagles for taking the game to Zamalek. The home side far from comfortable but still managing to keep the all important clean sheet.
Possession: Zamalek 38%-62% Raja
Abou Gabal forced to claw the ball from his goalmouth as a deflected lob almost creeps into the Zamalek net. Raja still very much with the initiative but it's the home side with the all important aggregate lead.
Moutouali floats the ball over from the right hand side but it's overhit. Zamalek break and the ball strikes an arm and Zamalek wildly appeal for a spot kick. Once again, the referee has no doubt and waves play on.
First card of the night as Madkour clashes with the Zamalek man.
Indeed, the ref waves play on. More of a hopeful call from Raja to be honest.
Call for a Raja penalty after a collision between Alaa and Raja's Ben Malango. At present the match official waving away protests but he is in contact with the VAR booth. My initial impression is that this was not a penalty offense.
Gomaa has now made a handful of key interventions for Zamalek, great timing shown by the defender.
First quarter of an hour gone and it's the side from Casablanca taking the game to Zamalek.
This is good from Raja as they try to break down the Zamalek rear guard with the visitors winning another corner. Zamalek sitting deep and inviting pressure.
Great attack from Raja as they force the first corner of the night.
An early goal for the Green Eagles would set the tie up wonderfully for the neutrals, as well as being well received by all Raja supporters. As yet neither keeper called into action as Rahimi unleashes a long range shot which is driven wide.
Both sides did meet in the 2002 CAF Champions League final with the Egyptians winning 1-0 on aggregate.
The White Knights of Zamalek looking composed in the early stages, they know that the men in green need to chase the game.
Tentative start from both sides with the teams finding their way into the action. Zamalek strong defensively and Raja will need to ensure that in their attacking impetus, they keep things tight at the back.
All set in Cairo. The game that was postponed twice, finally gets underway. Raja start the action ....
All set in Cairo. The game that was postponed twice, finally gets underway. Raja start the action ....
Can Raja deliver a surprise here in Cairo? A 0-1 scoreline would take us to extra time, the only scoreline to do so.
The teams take to the field. Zamalek in their all white shirts with the two red bands. Raja in all green tonight.
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.
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.
Zamalek's domestic season has now concluded with the White Knights finishing second in the table behind city rivals Al Ahly. Fans of the club are relishing the prospect of an all Cairo clash in the final at the end of the month.
Raja won the Moroccan Botola Pro title recently claiming the league title for the first time since the 2012/13 season.
With 20' ahead of kick-off in Cairo, a reminder of tonight's teams.
Match weather: A mild evening in the Egyptian capital with a balmy 23C/77F at kick-off.
The winners of tonight's tie will progress to the one off final against Cairo's Al Ahly on 27 November with Zamalek starting the game as favourites to set up a Cairo 'Clasico'
Once again, the Cairo International stadium will be empty tonight with CAF making the decision not to allow fans not attend based on medical grounds.
Tonight's sides have won 8 CAF Champions League titles combined with Zamalek hoping to add to their 5 with Raja on three wins. However, Raja's wins all came in the past century and one having to go back to 2002 for the last Zamalek triumph.
Raja's four non-Moroccan players Fabrice Ngah, Sanad Al Ouarfali, Fabrice Ngoma, and Ben Malango are all part of the group in addition to Mahmoud Benhalib who was the last player to recover from the virus.
However, goalkeeper Anas Zniti, as well as the two defenders Mohamed Douik and Abdeljalil Jbira failed to join the squad following positive coronavirus tests prompting Raja boss Jamal Sellami to call up a handful of younger players names from his reserve list.
The Raja Casablanca expedition finally flew into the Egyptian capital on Monday evening with all of their available players for the return leg of the CAF Champions League semi-final.
Raja's camp had been affected by several Covid-19 infections for more than a week which was the main reason for postponing the game twice. The latest round of PCR testing did deliver negative test results and the bulk of the regular first team squad could join the expedition that headed to Cairo.
Raja opting for a 4-4-2 formation with Pacheco selecting a 4-2-3-1 line up for his Zamalek side.
Raja start with the following XI:
Zamalek hold a 1-0 lead over the Moroccan side and the victors are set to face Al Ahly in the final.
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 action at the Cairo International stadium gets underway at 20:00 CET.
Hello and a warm welcome to our live coverage from Cairo as we bring you the second leg of the second CAF Champions League semi-final as Zamalek face Raja Casablanca.