Ahly, Zamalek draw as fans defy ban

Mohamed Aboutrika equalised for Al Ahly to earn them a 1-1 draw in their Champions League tie with rivals Zamalek.
Mohamed Aboutrika scored the equaliser. Net photo.
Mohamed Aboutrika scored the equaliser. Net photo.

Mohamed Aboutrika equalised for Al Ahly to earn them a 1-1 draw in their Champions League tie with rivals Zamalek.

The veteran playmaker struck  home a second-half penalty after Zamalek’s Salah Soliman had brought down striker Ahmed Abdel-Zaher.

Zamalek had taken the lead with only eight minutes played when Ahmed Gaafar slotted into an empty net following a goalmouth scramble sparked by a fumble from goalkeeper Sherif Ekramy.

All four teams in Group A are tied on one point each after Orlando Pirates of South Africa and AC Leopards of Congo Brazzaville drew goalless last weekend.

The match between the Egyptian rivals was played at the Red Sea resort of El Gouna, switched from Cairo because of security fears due to unrest following the ousting of President Morsi.

It had been expected that the match would be played behind closed doors but Egyptian security forces made the decision to allow about 7,000 supporters into the 12,000-capacity stadium.

The Confederation of African Football had warned before the game that “the presence of any supporters in the stands means a violation that would require a sanction against the home side (Zamalek)”.

But Caf will not take action against the club because the decision to admit fans was taken by the country’s security forces, rather than by the clubs.

And the atmosphere was more like a carnival rather than tense with some fans using red and blue umbrellas to shield the mid-afternoon sun, and hundreds of balloons added to the colourful occasion.

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