VIDEO: Ashour returns to haunt Zamalek as Al Ahly crowned Egypt Cup champions

Al Ahly have clinched the 2023 Egypt Cup after beating arch-rivals Zamalek 2-0 in the final held at the Al-Awwal Stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The final of the 2023 Egypt Cup was held four months after the semi-finals, which saw the Reds beat ENPPI 3-0, while Zamalek overcame Pyramids on penalties after a 3-3 draw.

Marcel Koller had to enter the game without the services of new striker Wessam Abou Ali as well as Ahmed Nabil Kouka, who joined the injury list alongside Aliou Dieng, Yasser Ibrahim, and Mohamed El-Shennawy.

Meanwhile, Zamalek reinforced by new manager Jose Gomes saw his starting lineup include new marquee signing Abdallah El-Said as he looked to win his first trophy in Egypt.

Al Ahly XI: Mostafa Shobier, Ali Maaloul, Rami Rabia, Mohamed Abdelmonem, Mohamed Hany; Karim Walid, Amr El-Sulya, Emam Ashour; Hussein El-Shahat, Percy Tau, Mahmoud Kahraba.

Zamalek XI: Mohamed Awad, Omar Gaber, Hamza Mathlouthi, Hossam Abdelmeguid, Ahmed Fetouh; Nabil Dunga, Abdallah El-Said, Youssef Obama; Ahmed Sayed Zizo, Mostafa Shalaby, Nasser Mansi.

The first-half was very cagey, with Amr El-Sulya first having a shot deflected above the crossbar before a counter-attack led by Zizo saw his effort denied by Shobier.

The remainder of the half didn’t witness any real chances; however, Zizo was forced off with an injury after a tackle from Karim Walid.

At half-time, Gomes had to bring on Shikabala for the injured Zizo at the right wing, but again that didn’t change the game from being tight.

Al Ahly dropped back while Zamalek dominated the game in terms of possession, with Mohamed Hany clearing Nasser Mansi’s tap-in off the line; however, it wouldn’t have counted anyway as the referee whistled for offside.

Trying to take advantage of his side winning the ball, Gomes brought on new player Nasser Maher and Seif Jaziri for Obama and Mansi.

Jaziri had a huge chance to put his side upfront, but couldn’t connect to Shikabala’s pass as the ball went out for goal kick.

Marcel Koller then responded by bringing on Omar Kamal, Marwan Ateya, and Afsha for Percy Tau, Karim Walid, and Amr El-Sulya.

The substitutions made an effect as in the 84th minute, Afsha played a perfect pass to Emam Ashour, who hit the ball with a first-time volley into the back of Awad’s net.

The referee initially disallowed the goal for offside but after a lengthy VAR inspection, the decision was overturned and the goal stood.

Koller then brought on Anthony Modeste and Akram Tawfik for Kahraba and El-Shahat to preserve his lead in the 93rd minute.

A minute later, Afsha killed off the tie as a counter-attack led by Marwan Ateya and Emam Ashour saw the latter pass the ball to Afsha, whose effort from the outside of the box beat Awad.

The goal ensured a 2-0 win for Al Ahly and a 39th title Egypt Cup title for the Reds as they now defended their title successfully.

The win also ends Al Ahly’s winless run against Zamalek in the Egypt Cup, which extends to 2010, with the Whites winning the last three clashes, which they all came in the finals.