Sport

Outplayed, outscored: Zamalek knock Tusker out of Champions League

Outplayed, outscored: Zamalek knock Tusker out of Champions League

Zamalek's Egyptian international Hamza Mathlouthi vies for the ball with Tusker's Tanzanian striker Ibrahim Joshua during their Caf Champions League first round, second leg match at the Borg El Arab Stadium in Alexandria, Egypt on October 22, 2021.

Photo credit: Pool |

Tusker on Friday night crashed out of the 2021/22 Caf Champions League after losing 4-0 to Egyptian giants Zamalek in the return leg of the competition’s first round at Borg El Arab Stadium in Alexandria.

On aggregate, Tusker lost 5-0 to the 13-time Egyptian champions who also boast of having lifted the Caf Champions League trophy five times before.

Morsy Fayed netted a brace while Seifedddine Jaziri and first leg’s goal assassin Achraf Bencharki scored a goal apiece to seal Zamalek’s huge victory.

In the first leg staged last Saturday at Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi, the Egyptian giants beat Tusker by a solitary goal that was scored by Bencharki.

As a result of the loss, Tusker dropped to the Caf Confederation Cup play-offs where they will be paired with one of the winners of the ongoing first round.

For Zamalek, they progress to the Champions League group stage. In the match played behind closed doors at the 86,000-seater stadium due to the Covid-19 restrictions put in place by the Egyptian government, coach Matano made four changes from the side that started against Zamalek at Nairobi.

Goalkeeper Patrick Matasi made his first competitive start since August when he returned to the club.

He replaced Brian Bwire, while midfielders Humphrey Mieno, Shami Kibwana and Jackson Macharia also started on the bench for defender Charles Momanyi, midfielder Apollo Otieno and striker Deogratious Ojok.

But two minutes into the clash, coach Matano was sent back to the drawing board after Momanyi picked up an injury.

He introduced Mieno.

Tusker survived three minutes later when a cross from the left went begging on the face of their goal.

That was not the case on 11 minutes as Fayed headed into the empty net after Matasi miscalculated a cross while attempting to make a clearance.

Holding out hope that they can still shock Zamalek at their turf, Tusker unsuccessfully attempted to storm the host’s area with crosses from their half.

Unmarked inside the area after another defensive mix-up, Jaziri made no mistake in giving Zamalek a healthy 2-0 lead on 18 minutes, as he rose well to head in a cross from the right.

Poorly positioned in his area, Matasi all but watched as the ball shook the net to the left. The closest Tusker came to finding the back of Zamalek’s net in the first half was on 44 minutes when Ojok picked a loose ball from a free-kick and curved-out a volley at the goal, which took a deflection to the reprieve of the hosts.

Seven minutes into the restart, Mieno picked Kalos Kirenge upfront but the centre-back hurriedly planted his powerful drive over the bar.

With Matano running out of patience, he made a double change immediately, John Njunguna and Shami Kibwana replacing Boniface Muchiri and Ibrahim Joshua respectively.

Matasi made a brilliant save in the 56th minute to deny Bencharki from close range.

Ojok then curled a freekick over the wall but it landed on the waiting hands of Zamalek’s goalkeeper Abo Gabal, before Clyde Senaji’s long-range effort went wide.

Tusker continued to curve out chances in the opening minutes of this second half, Njunguna finding Ojok who then squared the ball to Mieno but the midfielder ballooned his effort.

Njunguna tested goalkeeper Gabal from Mieno’s pass on 62 minutes. But Tusker's hopes of reducing the deficit following the impressive display was extinguished by Morsy and Bencharki who thereafter netted in quick succession.