Berekum Chelsea held Zamalek to a pulsating 1-1 draw in their Champions League penultimate Group B match on Saturday, leaving their semi-final chances in a balance.
The home side went ahead after just 13 minutes through Mohamed Ibrahim but defender Awudu Nafiu restored parity 11 minutes later at the Cairo Military Academy Stadium.
Chelsea needed victory from this encounter to brighten their chance of qualification to the semi-finals but had to overcome a resilient Zamalek side at the Cairo Military Academy Stadium.
Al Ahly must now beat TP Mazembe in Lumbubasi on Sunday to keep the 2011 Ghanaian champions in contention for a last four berth.
In the presence of home fans, Zamalek claimed their first point of the Champions League group stage with a 1-1 draw against Berekum Chelsea in Cairo./p>
Both goals came in the first 25 minutes as Chelsea’s Awudu Nafui cancelled out Mohamed Ibrahim’s first-ever continental goal for Zamalek.
Zamalek are now certain to finish bottom of Group B with one point from five games, whereas Chelsea maintain their slender hope of qualifying with six.
With Zamalek already eliminated, football on the pitch paled into insignificance as the return of fans to the stands was the mere highlight of the game.
Back for the first time in seven months, Zamalek’s Ultras White Knights were active from the first minute of the match at the Military Academy.
However, the ardent Zamalek fans were hardly cheering their players following a campaign to forget in Africa this season.
The some 3000 supporters present in the stands poured their rage on the Whites’ board, chanting against Mamdouh Abbas’ board for long spells.
Chelsea almost took the lead through the deadly Emmanuel Clottey, who was only denied by a heroic block from Sabri Rahil.
Zamalek replied in the 12th minute when youngster Ibrahim combined well with lone striker Abdoulaye Cisse before curling home the layoff with aplomb.
But the visitors drew level with a scruffy goal from Nafui, who dispatched home from close range after a couple of rebounds and ricochets.
Zamalek had several chances to record a morale-boosting victory but couldn’t find the finishing touch they needed.
An unfortunate moment that capped the Whites’ miserable campaign came in the 75th minute when Ahmed Samir’s shot was cleared off the line in agonizing fashion.