Zamalek reach Egypt Cup last four | Highlights
Holders Zamalek needed an extra-time penalty from Ahmed Zizo to edge a 2-1 comeback victory over lowly FC Masr and reach the Egypt Cup semis on Saturday, six days before their anticipated Champions League final against Ahly.
Just when it looked as though FC Masr, who were relegated to the second division this season, would cause a huge upset after an 85th-minute goal from Abdel-Rahman Gondia gave them the lead, youngster Osama Faisal forced an extra time with a stoppage-time strike.
Faisal had been on the pitch for only a few minutes when he scored, sparing Zamalek’s blushes after a timid display as they were devoid of several key players, with coach Jaime Pacheco resting the likes of Moroccan winger Achraf Bencharki and central defender Mahmoud Hamdi to have them fresh for the Ahly encounter.
In the 116th minute, Zizo sent the keeper the wrong way from the spot after left-back Abdallah Gomaa was felled, with the referee awarding the penalty after a VAR review to determine whether the contact had occurred inside the area.
The action-packed game, which was otherwise low on quality, was dominated by the VAR technology, with several decisive interventions swinging it either way.
Zamalek played with 10 men from the 62nd minute when central midfielder Emam Ashour received a straight red for a reckless challenge on the shin of an opponent.
Numbers were evened up on 102 minutes when FC Masr’s Hosni Zaki also received his marching orders for a last-man foul on Faisal. The referee initially awarded a penalty, only to whistle for a free-kick just outside the area after checking the pitchside monitor.
Zamalek, who will face Talae El-Geish in the last four next month, continued their bid for a seventh Egypt Cup triumph in the last eight editions. They also boosted their morale before facing Ahly on Friday in a high-profile Cairo derby for Africa’s most lucrative prize.
Earlier in the day, Ahly also reached the Egypt Cup semis with a narrow 2-1 win over second-tier Abu Qir.