Zamalek take first-leg win against Raja | CAF Champions League

Zamalek take first-leg win against Raja | CAF Champions League

Achraf Bencharki headed home in the first half as a disciplined Zamalek side snatched a 1-0 victory over Raja in Casablanca to close in on the African Champions League final on Sunday, following in the footsteps of Cairo rivals Ahly.

The in-form Moroccan wizard, whose creativity has proved vital in Zamalek’s path towards the semis, outjumped his marker at the far post to score what proved to be the winner on 18 minutes.

He set a record in the process, becoming Zamalek’s highest-scoring foreigner in African competitions with nine goals, surpassing former Burkinabe striker Abdoulaye Cisse even though he only joined Zamalek in the summer of 2019.

Zamalek could have doubled their advantage on at least a couple of occasions after the break, with Bencharki masterminding their pacy counter attacks as Raja poured forward en masse to score an equaliser.

The visitors also survived a late onslaught to claim a crucial win as they seek to reach the final for the first time since 2016.

On Saturday, record eight-time winners Ahly defeated Raja’s rivals Wydad 2-0 at the same Mohammed V Stadium, with the Egyptian duo now looking overwhelming favourites to reach the final of Africa’s blue-riband club competition.

The second legs will take place next weekend at Cairo’s International Stadium.

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