Zamalek beat Ettihad of Alexandria 1-0 in the Arab Club Championship | VIDEO
A controversial second-half goal from Kabongo Kasongo gave Zamalek a 1-0 away victory over fellow Egyptian side Ittihad in the first leg of the Zayed Champions Cup round of 16 on Saturday, putting them in the driving seat to reach the quarter-final.
The Congolese striker converted a low cross from Hamdi Nagguez after some poor goalkeeping but television replays showed that the right-back was in an offside position in the build-up.
Ittihad will face an uphill climb in the second leg on 30 November in Cairo if they are to cause an upset and book a last-eight berth.
Zamalek continued their recent fine of results, chalking up a fourth successive win in all competitions.
Chances were few and far between in a cagey first half, with Zamalek dominating possession but struggling to carve out openings as Ittihad defended in numbers.
Ittihad could have even grabbed the lead midway through the first half when Ivorian youngster Razak Cisse, who is on loan from Zamalek, turned his marker outside and fired an angled right-foot shot just over the bar.
Zamalek said Ittihad had no right to field Cisse against them due to a “contractual agreement” but the Alexandria-based club insisted that this clause only applies to domestic competitions.
Central defender Mahmoud Alaa had a looping header denied by the post early in the second half and Kasongo made amends on 69 minutes to end the resistance of Ittihad, albeit in controversial fashion.
Towering Tunisian right-back Nagguez looked offside when he ran onto a long ball, crossing low for Kasongo to bundle the ball in off the keeper.