Egypt’s Zamalek dominate Tunisia’s Esperance

Mahmoud Hamdi of Egypt's Zamalek team in action against Esperance Sportive de Tunis' Ibrahim Ouattar on Feb. 14, 2020. (REUTERS/Ibraheem Al Omari)
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Updated 15 February 2020

Egypt’s Zamalek dominate Tunisia’s Esperance

  • It was Zamalek’s fourth win in the Cup’s 28 editions, which both teams have contested five times previously, with the Cairo side now having won the second most titles

AL RAYYAN, Qatar: Egypt’s Zamalek outclassed Tunisia’s Esperance 3-1 in the CAF Super Cup in Doha on Friday, driven by a duo of inspired goals by Achraf Bencharki.

It was Zamalek’s fourth win in the Cup’s 28 editions, which both teams have contested five times previously, with the Cairo side now having won the second most titles.

Youssef Mohamed “Obama” Fayed headed in Zamalek’s second-minute opener, invigorating the noisy and more numerous Egyptian fans.

VAR was used to adjudicate a 47th minute foul by Zamalek’s Mahmoud Attia that saw him shown yellow and Esperance’s Abdelraouf Benguit leveled with a penalty.

But it was Bencharki who stole the night with a surgical shot in the 57th minute that electrified the near-capacity crowd at the ground in the outskirts of the Qatari capital.

Esperance substitute Mohamed Ali Ben Hamouda had an 86th minute effort disallowed because of a clear foul, all but sealing the result for Zamalek’s jubilant fans.

Morocco’s Bencharki drove home Zamalek’s third and final goal in injury time.

Friday’s fixture helped put to bed the chaotic clash that saw Esperance qualify, the AFC Champions League at which Wydad Casablanca abandoned the final in protest at the organizers’ decision not to use VAR.

Play was stopped for more than an hour at last year’s clash with the Moroccan side insisting they had not been told the video ref would be deployed.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport named Esperance the winners after a bruising legal battle that did nothing to enhance the image of scandal-tainted African football.

The Super Cup is an annual one-off match pitting the winner of the CAF Champions League and second-tier CAF Confederation Cup against each other. It was staged in Africa from its inception in 1993 until last year when it moved to Qatar.


Virus cases increase in Bundesliga after int’l break

Updated 20 October 2020

Virus cases increase in Bundesliga after int’l break

  • Other cases are causing concern that soccer may be put on hold again as Germany appears to be dealing with a second wave of the virus

BERLIN: Players are returning to the Bundesliga from international duty, and they are bringing the coronavirus with them.

Hoffenheim played Borussia Dortmund on Saturday without Andrej Kramaric and Kasim Adams after they tested positive following national team matches with Croatia and Ghana, respectively. Czech Republic defender Pavel Kaderabek was in quarantine because of a family member’s result.

Hoffenheim director of football Alexander Rosen said after the 1-0 loss that clubs would have to think about letting players leave again for international duty.

“The clubs pay the players and work with everyone to ensure the processes are carried out properly," Rosen said. "And you get the impression that the national associations simply don’t care.”

Dortmund had to do without defender Manuel Akanji after he tested positive while on duty for Switzerland.

“When you look at the rising numbers, you have to wonder whether it makes sense to stop (players from leaving) for the next break,” Leipzig sports director Markus Krösche said after his team’s 2-0 win in Augsburg. “There has to be clear guidance from FIFA on how it goes, especially in risk areas.”

Leipzig was without Amadou Haidara. The midfielder had tested positive after helping Mali defeat Ghana 3-0 in a friendly in Turkey. Also, Hertha Berlin was upset that Mattéo Guendouzi returned from France’s under-21 team with the virus.

“The signing was already very complicated,” Hertha coach Bruno Labbadia. “Now it’s the worst case scenario.”

Other cases are causing concern that soccer may be put on hold again as Germany appears to be dealing with a second wave of the virus. The country’s disease control center reported 7,830 new cases over the previous 24 hours on Saturday, a record for the third day in a row.

Second-division club Nuremberg reported two positive cases on Wednesday. The game between Osnabruck and Darmstadt was postponed with most of the home team in quarantine for 14 days after two of its players tested positive for COVID-19.

Union Berlin striker Max Kruse was criticized for posting an Instagram video showing him enjoying a visit to a shisha bar with friends. Berlin has some of Germany’s highest virus infection rates.

“It wasn’t the cleverest from Max, he knows that himself,” Union teammate Marvin Friedrich said after the team's 1-1 draw at Schalke on Sunday.

Dortmund coach Lucien Favre assumes there will be more cases among players and he warned that the league may be suspended again. There was no soccer for two months when the pandemic started in March.