Egypt's Zamalek break record as they cruise to CAF Cup final

Egypt's Zamalek break record as they cruise to CAF Cup final
Zamalek's 3-0 victory over Ghanian club Dreams was a record victory for the semi-final of the CAF Cup.
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Zamalek ran away 3-0 winners over Ghanian club Dreams to take their place in the final [Getty]

Zamalek of Egypt won a CAF Confederation Cup semi-final away leg by a record margin as they defeated Dreams of Ghana 3-0 in Kumasi on Sunday.

The White Knights won the tie 3-0 on aggregate after a goalless first leg in the Egyptian capital last Sunday.

Zamalek bettered the previous best away result in the penultimate stage -- a 3-1 victory by SuperSport United of South Africa against Club Africain of Tunisia seven seasons ago.

The Cairo club are likely to face Renaissance Berkane of Morocco in the two-leg final on May 12 and 19 in what would be a repeat of the 2019 title decider won by Zamalek on penalties.

USM Alger of Algeria refused to enter the pitch in the northeastern Moroccan city of Berkane for the second leg of the semi-final, which has been dogged by off-field drama.

Berkane were awarded a 3-0 win in the first leg, which was not played last Sunday because Algerian authorities confiscated the shirts of the Moroccan team and refused to return them.

The shirts had a map of Morocco that included the Western Sahara, a mineral-rich territory largely controlled by Morocco, whose claim for independence is backed by Algeria.

Algeria broke off diplomatic relations with Morocco in 2021, partly over the issue.

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The Algerian football federation has lodged an appeal against the CAF sanction with the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, arguing that the Cairo-based body had "validated the request of the Moroccan club, RS Berkane, to wear a shirt with a political message".

Having dominated the first leg at home only to be let down by poor finishing, Zamalek were far more clinical in Ghana in the African equivalent of the UEFA Europa League.

Tunisian Hamza Mathlouthi and Nigerian Samson Akinyoola scored in the first half and any hopes of a dramatic Dreams comeback were dashed when Mostafa Shalaby netted after half-time.

Mathlouthi poked the ball into the net off a 12th-minute corner and Akinyoola struck after 27 minutes with a superbly placed shot past goalkeeper Solomon Agbasi.

Shalaby notched his first goal of the CAF campaign on 59 minutes, running on to a pass from Tunisian Seifeddine Jaziri and scoring with a low shot.

Veteran John Antwi came close to finding the net several times for African debutants Dreams and Abdul Aziz Issah blazed wide from a favourable position just before the break.