Berkane Establish Slender Lead in Confederation Cup Final First Leg

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Berkane Establish Slender Lead in Confederation Cup Final First Leg

By Satish Sekar © Satish Sekar (May 12th 2024

Slender Advantage?

Former CAF Confederation Cup champions (Renaissance Sporting) de RS Berkane, fresh from their controversial 6-0 aggregate win over the defending champions USM Alger without kicking a ball defeated Egypt’s SC Zamalek 2-1 in the first leg in Berkane – a slender advantage as away goals could decide the title, meaning a 1-0 victory for Zamalek would give the White Knights the title. Zamalek have a proud record at home, meaning that they start as favourites for the return leg thanks to Seifeddine Jaziri’s goal at the start of the second half.

Berkane’s Burkinabé defender, Issofou Dayo, gave the Moroccans the lead after a VAR review persuaded the Kenyan referee to reverse his earlier view that Hossam Abdelmaguid’s challenge on Youssef el Fahli was not a foul. Dayo scored the penalty after 13 minutes. Berkane doubled their lead when Mohamed El Mourabit’s freekick was headed in by Adil Tarif after 32 minutes.

After taking a two goal lead Berkane was content to play on the counter-attack, but the strategy of CAF Champions League winning coach, Moïn Chaâbani, backfired when Ahmed (Zizo) Sayef’s cross was headed in by Jaziri to give the visitors a precious away goal – Zamalek’s captain, midfielder, Mahmoud (Shikabala) Abdelrazak was missing through injury.

Shikabala – a Zamalek stalwart – will not play any part in this year’s Confederation Cup final due to a tear of the anterior muscle in his left leg picked up during training for the second leg of the semi-final against Dreams FC. But Zizo is back and played an important part in the first leg of the final.

It is evenly poised but Berkane know that Zamalek has a formidable record at home.

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