ICEC

Zamalek’s misery compounded by Egypt Cup elimination at Masry hands

Zamalek’s recent woes continued on Tuesday when they were ousted from the Egypt Cup after a late 2-0 loss to Masry in the semi-final in Alexandria to finish the season empty-handed.

Abdallah Gomaa, a Zamalek target, converted a debatable penalty four minutes from time before Abdallah Bika finished off a breakaway deep in stoppage time to lift Masry to their first cup final since they won the trophy with a 4-3 victory over Arab Contractors in 1998.

Tempers flared following the final whistle, with Zamalek’s angry players haranguing the referee in protest at the decision to award Masry a penalty after Ahmed Tawfik was adjudged to have fouled Ahmed Gomaa.

Zamalek missed out on the chance of setting a record of most consecutive Egypt Cup triumphs, having won the past four editions, including two at the expense of bitter Cairo rivals Ahly.

The White Knights, who played their first game under the stewardship of caretaker manager Tarek Yehia, have not been able to win any title for the first time since 2012, losing the league to Ahly and failing to go beyond the group stage in the lucrative African Champions League. Ahly, who are eyeing their first cup title since 2007, meet Alexandria-based club Smouha in the other semi final on Wednesday.

Chances were few and far between in a dull first half, with both sides mainly restricted to some half chances.

The half’s best chance fell to Zamalek striker Bassem Morsi seven minutes before the break when he was fed in the area by Mahmoud Shikabala following some nifty footwork from the veteran winger.

However, his right-foot shot was blocked by a fine stop from Masry keeper Ahmed Buska.

The early stages of the second half were eventful, with Zamalek initially awarded a controversial penalty after a Morsi cross allegedly struck a defender’s arm.

However, television replays showed that it had struck his forehead instead and the referee backtracked on his decision after consulting the linesman, sparking furious protests from Zamalek players.

Moments later, Zamalek’s central defender Ali Gabr was lucky to escape with only a yellow card after a reckless two-footed lunge on Masry’s youngster Islam Ateya.

Masry almost broke the deadlock with nine minutes remaining as Zamalek appeared to be buckling under late pressure but forward Ahmed Gomaa blasted high over following a pull-back with the goal at his mercy.

They made amends in the 86th minute after Abdallah Gomaa sent the keeper the wrong way from the spot and Bika applied a simple finish following a swift break at the death to spark wild celebrations among Masry’s players.

Source: Ahram online sports

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