Two late second half goals saw hosts CR Belouizdad beat Egyptian giants Zamalek SC 2-0 to advance to the quarter finals of the TotalEnergies CAF Champions League and close out Group D.
The victory by the Algerian side in Algiers saw Belouizdad cement their hold on second place with nine points, four behind third placed Zamalek who were held to a 1-1 draw by also qualified Esperance in the early kick off in Libya.
For the second consecutive seasons, the White Knights have failed to progress to the quarter finals and they remained bottom of the group with four points. The final round of the group’s matches after the international break will be merely to decide the positions with the top two and bottom two taking on each other.
The Algerians travel away to Esperance while Zamalek will be in Cairo against Merrikh.
Zakaria Draoui and Leonel Wamba scored in the 75th and 79th minutes for the home side to cash in the win and assure themselves a place in the last eight.
Draoui broke the deadlock after 75 minutes with an expertly tucked away curling effort after running on to a cutback from Akram Bouras.
Four minutes later, Cameroonian forward Wamba scored the second, though unconventionally. A freekick from the left found his run at the backpost and the striker first connected with his chest before a trailing leg swept the ball beyond the keeper.
Before that, there were few chances in a tightly contested game. In the opening half, Mohamed Belkhir had a good chance when he rounded the keeper, but his decision to go at goal from a tight angle was awry, the ball curling wide.
Zamalek’s Seifeddine Jaziri also had a good chance 10 minutes to the break when he battled to win the ball between two defenders, but his shot one on one was saved by the keeper Alex Guendouz.
In the second half, it was Belouizdad who were hungrier and they were rewarded with the two goals deep into the final quarter of an hour.