Hamdy gives Zamalek second CAF Confederation Cup titleSun, 19 May 2024 19:27:34 GMT

Ahmed Hamdy scored midway through the first half to give Zamalek of Egypt a 1-0 victory over Renaissance Berkane of Morocco on Sunday and a second CAF Confederation Cup title.The two-leg final finished 2-2 on aggregate with the Cairo club winning the African equivalent of the UEFA Europa League on away goals.  The previous Zamalek triumph in the second-tier competition also came against Berkane with the Egyptians winning on penalties in 2019 after another aggregate draw. It was a historic triumph for Zamalek boss Jose Gomes, who became the first Portuguese coach to win the Confederation Cup.Zamalek made one change to the team that started the first leg in Morocco last Sunday with Senegalese Ibrahima Ndiaye replacing Nigeria-born fellow winger Samson Akinyoola.Berkane were unchanged with Burkina Faso centre-back Issoufou Dayo captaining the team and Senegalese Paul Bassene leading the attack.A sell-out crowd in the 75,000-capacity Cairo International Stadium cheered, chanted and waved large flags as Zamalek attacked relentlessly in the early stages.It seemed a matter of time before Berkane conceded, and Zamalek took the lead on 23 minutes through Hamdy, a midfielder who joined the White Knights four months ago.An attempted clearance by Berkane was blocked and Ahmed ‘Zizo’ Sayed pushed the ball to unmarked Hamdy, who rifled a low shot wide of goalkeeper Hamza Hamiani into the corner of the net.Level on aggregate but behind on away goals, Berkane came out of their defensive shell and Dayo almost levelled soon after with a far-post header after a free kick.Paul Bassene had his first sight of goal on 32 minutes, but blazed over, then Yassine Labhiri was much closer to equalising with a shot from just outside the area. Zamalek finished the opening half strongly and Berkane had to defend desperately with defenders blocking several goal attempts after Hamiani failed to grasp a cross. The Berkane goalkeeper nearly gifted Zamalek a second goal just past the hour mark as he initially hesitated to clear the ball and came close to being dispossessed by Seifeddine Jaziri.Berkane threatened with 14 minutes remaining when awarded a free kick close to the area, but a poor attempt by Ayoub Khairi sailed over. The Moroccans were reduced to 10 men two minutes into added time when Hamza El Moussaoui was red-carded for stamping on Zizo after fouling the winger.