Algeria’s USM Alger got the better of Zamalek with a 2-0 win in their Group B Day Four clash on Wednesday at the renovated Stade 5 Juillet in Algiers.
A goal each from Reda Bellahcene and Abderrahmane Meziane in the second half was enough to take USMA to the summit of the standings as five-time winners, Zamalek tasted their first defeat at this stage.
An action packed encounter that witnessed some superb goalkeeping by the two shot-stoppers, Mohamed Zemmamouche for the Algerians and Ahmed Shenawy for the Egyptians.
Just five minutes into the game, the host survived a scare after Zamalek playmaker Mahmoud Abdelrazek Shikabala teed Bassem Morsy who shot towards goal only for Mohamed Meftah to clear the ball off the line.
However, it was USMA who had the last laugh with the opener two minutes before the break after Bellahcene headed home from a free-kick.
The second half was not without much drama as both goalkeepers proved to be the backbone of their sides.
A Shikabala free-kick three minutes after the break found Nigerian-import Stanley Ohawuchi, who headed wide with only Zemmamouche to beat.
On the hour mark, an ugly incident saw both sides reduced to ten men after USMA’s Amir Sayoud retaliated by pushing Tarek Hamed after the latter’s tackle on him leading to a scuffle. Both players were sent off, Sayoud, a straight red card and a second yellow card for Hamed, earlier booked in the first half.
Six minutes later, USMA survived yet again a Zamalek attack that saw Shikabala unleash a shot at goal only for Mokhtar Benmoussa to clear the ball to safety.
It did not end there for the Cairo-based giants as substitute Mostafa Fathi almost restored parity with his first touch, a superb volley that forced an equally good save from Zemmamouche on 73 minutes.
The USMA goalie again denied the Egyptians the leveler with a calm save of a low shot by Shikabala three minutes later.
On 84 minutes, Meziane took on the Zamalek backline beating two defenders, but shot wide with Shenawy at his mercy.
He however made amends three minutes from time, with a curling shot that left Shenawy with no option to seal victory.
USMA has seven points same as Libya’s Ahly Tripoli, which beat Caps United 4-2 in the other Group B match also played on Wednesday in the Tunisian city of Sfax.
Zamalek has five points with Caps in that order with three points.
Source: Confederation Africaine de Football