A first-half goal by the Morrocan forward gave the Egyptian Premier League giants a crucial first-leg advantage in Casablanca

Achraf Bencharki scored the only goal that gave Zamalek a 1-0 victory over Raja Casablanca in the first-leg of their Caf Champions League semi-final fixture on Sunday.

Bencharki broke the deadlock at the Stade Mohamed V in the 18th minute with his header off Ahmed Sayed Zizo’s cross.

The effort was the Morocco international’s seventh goal on his seventh appearance in the Champions League this season.

Despite pressure from the hosts to score an equaliser, Zamalek held on to the precious victory away from home in Casablanca which stretched their unbeaten run across all competitions to seven matches.

Raja Casablanca intensified their push with four changes in the second half while Jaime Pacheco made just one late substitution with Mohammed Ounajem replacing winger Youssef Obama in the 85th minute.

Sunday’s victory boosted Zamalek’s dreams of securing a sixth Champions League title and another continental silverware after they clinched the Caf Confederation Cup last season.

The White Knight are scheduled to host Raja Casablanca for the reverse fixture in Cairo on October 24.

On Saturday, another Egyptian Premier League club Al Ahly defeated Wydad Casablanca 2-0 in the second semi-final fixture in Casablanca, thanks to goals from Mohamed Magdy and Ali Maaloul.

The Caf Champions League final is billed to take place in Egypt on November 6, however, the Confederation of African Football noted that it could still hold in Morocco if the two teams from the country (Wydad and Raja) overturn their first-leg deficit and qualify.

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