FILE- Zamalek players celebrate their African Victory FILE- Zamalek players celebrate their African Victory

Zamalek's inspirational journey towards the title

Tue, May. 28, 2019
CAIRO - 28 May 2019: Ahmed Sayed, known as Zizo, scored the last penalty that crowned Zamalek the CAF Confederation Cup title and granted the team's fans across the country the pure happiness they searched for during the last 16 years.

Zizo's penalty put an end to a 16-year continental drought as Zamalek's last African title was in 2003 when they defeated Wydad Casablanca to win the African Super Cup title.

Zamalek were the underdogs of the competition this year and their route to the title was inspirational and impressed the football fans across the continent.

Zamalek qualified for the CAF Confederation Cup after they won the 2018 Egyptian Cup title defeating Smouha at the final also by penalty shoot-outs.

The Egyptian giants known as the White Castle Warriors started their campaign at the competition from the first round when they faced an easy opponent, AS CotonTchad, defeating them 7-2 on aggregate.

Zamalek qualified for the second round and the draw put them against Morocco's Ittihad Tanger.

The first leg in Morocco ended with a goalless draw while the second leg ended with a 3-1 victory for Zamalek; this victory sent Zamalek to the competition's group stage.

The group stage draw put Zamalek in a tough group with Kenya's Gor Mahia, Algeria's NA Hussein Dey and Petro de Luanda of Angola.

Zamalek suffered a frustrating start at the group stage as they lost the opening game 4-2 to Gor Mahia in Kenya while the second game against NA Hussein Dey at home ended with a 1-1 draw which is the same result of the third game at home against Petro de Luanda.

Zamalek were at the bottom of their group after three games at the group stage, including two games at home, and everyone expected another tough year for Zamalek.

However, everything changed for Zamalek from the fourth round when they defeated Petro de Luanda 1-0 in Angola and achieved a 4-0 victory over Gor Mahia at home before ending the group stage games with a draw in Algeria.

Zamalek, who were the first candidate for an early exit, finished the group stage as group leaders with 9 points and reached the quarter finals and the draw put Zamalek against Morocco's Hassania Agadir.

The first leg ended with a goalless draw in Morocco and Zamalek's goalkeeper, Mahmoud Gennesh, was the fans' hero after he saved many clear chances for the hosts.

During the second leg in Egypt, Ibrahim Hassan scored a goal and sent Zamalek to the semi-finals.

The semi-final put Zamalek against the familiar faces from Tunisia, Etoile du Sahel.

Zamalek faced the Tunisian team in 2015 and they were knocked out after a 5-4 historic loss and it was the time for Zamalek to take revenge.

The first leg was played in Borg El Arab Stadium and Zamalek managed to win thanks to a goal from Mahmoud Kahraba which gave Zamalek an advantage ahead of the second leg in Tunisia.

The second leg was a true battle against Etoile du Sahel players and their enthusiastic fans who put Zamalek players under pressure from the first moment but Zamalek players broke all their attacking attempts and secured a goalless draw that sent the Egyptian team to the final.

Zamalek qualified for the final against Morocco's RS Berkane who defeated Tunisia's CS CS Sfaxien to reach the final for the first time in the club's history.

During the first leg in Morocco, Zamalek players were on the verge of returning to Egypt with a draw but a late goal from Berkane’s Togolese striker, Kodjo Fo-Doh Laba, secured the victory for the home side.

At the second leg in Egypt, Zamalek fans packed Borg El Arab Stadium 6 hours before the game to support their players during the final.

Zamalek suffered during the first half and they failed to convert their attempts to goals and went to the half time with a nil-nil draw.

During the second half, VAR granted Zamalek a penalty and the team defender, Mahmoud Alaa, converted it to a goal to equalize the loss of the first leg.

Both teams failed to score at the remaining minutes and the game went to penalty-shootouts.

Zamalek players scored all their five attempts while the Moroccan team missed their first attempt by Hamdi Laachir and Zamalek won the African title.

Zamalek fans celebrated their team's victory all night long.
 
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