Debutant Ahmed Hassan scored the winner as Al-Ahly edged bitter rivals Zamalek 2-1 Sunday in the all-Egypt highlight of the opening CAF Champions League group matches. The midfielder with the movie star looks struck after 67 minutes of the Group A clash by running on to a short free kick and firing the ball past goalkeeper Abdelwahed al-Sayed.
Hassan led Egypt to a record sixth African Cup of Nations title in Ghana last February and joined the five-time African champions from Belgian club Anderlecht in mid-year.
Unfancied Zamalek had equalised just five minutes before at Cairo Stadium as a Gamal Hamza drive from outside the penalty area took a deflection off Wael Gomaa en route to the net. Ahly went ahead 28 minutes into the first half when Felisberto 'Gilberto' Amaral intercepted a weak pass and crossed for fellow Angolan Flavio Amado to score with a snap shot.
The match followed an identical pattern to the other match in the stronger of two mini-leagues with Dynamos of Zimbabwe opening and closing the scoring in a 2-1 triumph over ASEC Mimosas of Ivory Coast in Harare earlier Sunday.
Victory maintained the supremacy of Ahly over their greatest rivals with only one loss in the last 13 meetings between the 'Red Devils' and the 'White Knights' of Zamalek, who have also been African champions five times.
Ahly surprisingly included striker Emad Moteab despite his recent transfer to English Championship club Bristol City, but he was comfortably contained in a game of few scoring chances. Ghanaian striker Junior Agogo, who quit Championship outfit Nottingham Forest for Zamalek, also toiled fruitlessly and was substituted after 75 minutes by new German coach Reiner Hollman.
Sharing Cairo Stadium means Ahly and Zamalek will play four of their six matches at home and they remain favourites to reach the semi-finals at the expense of Dynamos and 1998 champions ASEC. Ahly travel to ASEC at the beginning of next month while Zamalek host surprise packets Dynamos.