St. George holds Zamalek to a draw in Cairo

St. George holds  Zamalek to a draw in Cairo
21 April 2013 12:48

 Ethiopia’s St. George forced their hosts Zamalek of Egypt to a 1-1 draw as they clashed in the 2013 Orange CAF Champions League second round first leg at the Cairo’s Air Defense Stadium. The visitors took the lead via Omoud Okore after 66 minutes, before Burkinabe substitute Abdullah Cisse equalized for the home side eight ( 8) minutes from time. The result leaves  Zamalek in a tough situation when they visit Addis Ababa for the return leg in a fortnight.Zamalek started the game on attacking note and had many corners in the opening stage but without making use of them. Ahmed Eid Abdel Malek had the first effort with a powerful shot that missed the target after 13 minutes. The hosts looked for an early goal as Zamalek’s Brazilian coach Jorvan Vieira started with an attacking line-up  keen  to win at home. On the other side St. George’s German manager Michael Kroger opted to control the midfield and go for counter attacks. That almost paid off when Shimelis Bekele found himself one on one with Zamalek’s keeper and captain Abdel Wahed El Sayed who saved brilliantly. Bekele had previously tested El Sayed with a long range effort that went just outside.With time passing Zamalek players seemed nervous as they looked for a way to break the deadlock, and they went for shooting from outside the area as they couldn’t break St. George’s defensive wall. The first half ended  goalless .After the break Vieira brought  in Hazem Emam and Abdullah Cisse in search for the opening goal. The substitutions almost paid dividends immediately when Abdel Malek found Omar Gaber whose shot went just wide. Substitute Emam had a powerful shot saved by Ethiopian goalkeeper Tadele. At the other end  Zamalek’s captain El Sayed was there in time to save from a clean one on one situation with Okore after 62 minutes.Four minutes later Okore put the visitors ahead when he capitalized on an error from Zamalek’s defender Salah Suleiman to shoot from 25 meters past El Sayed’s  sending St. George players into euphoria. The goal raised the Ethiopians’ level of confidence while Zamalek threw all his players searching for an equalizer. Tadele was there every time Zamalek threatened to score having some very good saves from Cisse, Abdel Malek and Gaafar . Vieira brought in Mohamed Ibrahim and Zamalek finally found the equalizer after 82 minutes when Cisse was there to finish Substitute Ibrahim’s low cross from close range. The Burkinabe Cisse could have doubled his tally two minutes later when his header shook Tadele’s crossbar. The game ended in a 1-1 draw and the teams will meet again in the return leg in Addis Ababa in a fortnight’s time.The aggregate winner will qualify the mini league stage of the continent’s premier club competition.Post match reaction – Zamalek v St. George Jorvan Vieira (Zamalek manager)“Possession doesn’t mean anything in football, only goals count. We had a bad game on the contrary from our past games and against what everyone expected to be a tough opponent. We controlled the game but without making use of this possession. Our chance is still there and it’s the same as St. George’s. In modern football playing home or away is the same”. Michael Kroger (St. George manager)“The return leg will be very difficult despite the away draw we achieved today. Zamalek has much more continental experience than we do, and this experience will help them in Addis Ababa. We’ll see what happens and we’ll do our best to reach the group stage. I’m satisfied with my team’s performance today. We had a good game against a big team, and we could have won. I’m happy with this result”. Abdel Wahed El Sayed (Zamalek Captain)“We had a bad game. We almost lost the game but it ended in a draw. The away leg is going to be very tough but we’re capable of winning and qualifying. In last year’s final Al Ahly had a 1-1 draw with Esperance in Cairo and then they won the title in Tunis. We can win in Addis Ababa and reach the mini league stage”.

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