African Confederation Cup: Renaissance Berkane to face Zamalek in final


African Confederation Cup trophy

Renaissance Berkane of Morocco and Zamalek of Egypt reached this year’s African Confederation Cup final after securing aggregate wins over Tunisian clubs CS Sfaxien and Etoile du Sahel.

Playing at home, Berkane shocked record three-time winners CS Sfaxien 3-0 in the semi-final second leg to qualify 3-2 on aggregate while Zamalek squeezed through 1-0 overall after a 0-0 draw at Etoile.

Berkane will host the first leg of the final in Morocco on 19 May with the return match in Egypt seven days later.

It will be Renaissance Berkane’s first appearance in an African final, whilst Egyptian giants Zamalek will be hoping to end a 16-year African trophy drought.

The first half collapse of Sfaxien in Berkane was unexpected given they had conceded only three goals in six previous away outings in the African version of the UEFA Europa League.

Togolese Kodjo Fo-Doh Laba converted an eighth-minute penalty to get Renaissance back into the tie after they performed poorly in a 2-0 first leg loss last weekend.

Another set-piece brought the second Berkane goal on 19 minutes as right-back Omar Nemsaoui hammered a rising free-kick past Aymen Dahmen to tie the aggregate score.

The goal that won the semi-final arrived 31 minutes into the opening half as Burkinabe centre-back Issoufou Dayo pounced on a loose ball and scored from a tight angle.

Despite being overrun by Berkane, vastly more experienced Sfaxien would have regained the lead on aggregate had they scored an away goal.

They came closest to doing so with an hour gone when an Alaa Marzouki volley from inside the box flew just wide of the far post.

Berkane will hope to become the fifth Moroccan winners of the Confederation Cup after FAR Rabat (2005), FUS Rabat (2010), MAS Fes (2011) and Raja Casablanca (2018).

Zamalek had to play five minutes of stoppage time with 10 men away to Etoile du Sahel after goalkeeper Mahmoud ‘Gennesh’ Abdel Rahim was sent off in Sousse.

After delaying play several times due to injuries, Abdel Rahim was shown a second yellow card followed by a red when he handled outside the box.

Youssef ‘Obama’ Ibrahim of Zamalek squandered the best first-half chance with a scuffed attempt from close range.

When Etoile did get the ball past Abdel Rahim 10 minutes from time through captain Yassine Chikhaoui, Tunisia-born Zamalek defender Hamdi Nagguez cleared.


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