Al Ahly vs Zamalek
| | |

Al Ahly vs Zamalek: The Fiercest Derby in the Middle East

Walk around Cairo on Friday, March 8, at 7 PM, and you will find mostly empty streets. In cafes, people will be divided into 2 sections: red and white. For a country of 110 million people that breathe football, this is the most important game of the year: Al Ahly vs Zamalek or the Cairo Derby. As most of their matches do, the 177th chapter of this rivalry will decide a trophy, the Egyptian Cup.

It is the fiercest derby in the Middle East, and there is a case for the world.

A Trophy-Loaded History

The two clubs have won 57 of the 64 seasons of the Egyptian League, with Al Ahly having won the lion’s share of those with 43 league titles.

In the oldest African competition, the Egyptian Cup, the two clubs have combined to win it 66 times, with Al Ahly winning it 38 times and Al Zamalek winning it 28 times. Interestingly, two titles were shared between them in 1942–1943 and 1958–1959.

The two clubs are the most successful in African competitions, with Al Ahly bringing in the most trophies, winning 11 CAF Champions League titles, 4 African Winners Cups, 8 African Super Cups, and 1 CAF Confederation Cup, while also being the club that participated in the most FIFA Club World Cups, finishing 3rd four times for good measure.

On the other hand, Zamalek has won 5 CAF Champions League titles, 1 African Winners Cup, 4 African Super Cups, and 1 CAF Confederation Cup.

The Last 176 Meetings

The two clubs have played together 176 times. In the league, they have played on 126 occasions, with Al Ahly winning 49, Zamalek winning 27, and 50 ending in a draw.

In the Egyptian Cup, they have met in 27 matches, with Al Ahly winning 16, Zamalek 11, and drawing in 5. Zamalek also won the last three meetings of the competition. All of which were in the final.

A very strange fact is that the cup meetings between both clubs have never gone to penalties. The matches that ended in a draw were replayed. Since replays were scrapped, there was no cup game ending in a draw between both clubs.

See also  How Many Manchester United Academy Graduates Play In The Premier League

This is ultimately different from their meetings in the Egyptian Super Cup. They have faced each other eight times, with Al Ahly winning four and the tie ending in a draw for the other four.

Zamalek have never beat Al Ahly in regular time or extra time in the Super Cup and the only two Super Cup trophies against Al Ahly were won on penalties.

In the CAF Champions League, they have played nine times, with Zamalek never beating Al Ahly in that competition. In those nine fixtures, Al Ahly have come out as victors on six occasions, and there were three where the sides could not be separated. However, Al Ahly did beat Zamalek in perhaps the most important matchup of all—the 2020 CAF Champions League final.

When it comes to the African Super Cup, Zamalek has the edge, winning 1-0 in 1994. This was the only meeting between the sides.

The Derby Bragging Rights

Since the start of the 2000’s, Al Ahly have been in a period of historic dominance barely matched in the world of football.

Al Ahly have won the Egyptian League 13 times since the start of the 2000’s, doing the double on five of those occasions and the quadruple twice. They also had nine African Champions Leagues in their cabinet during that same period.

Since 2004–2005, Zamalek has beaten Al Ahly only 6 times out of 54 meetings between the two sides. In their last five meetings, Al Ahly has taken the win in four and drawn one.

Al Ahly also won the African Game of the Century, winning the CAF Champions League Final against Zamalek in 2020.

It is safe to say that Al Ahly fans have enjoyed having the Cairo Derby bragging rights most of the time in the last 20 years or so. The younger generation of Al Ahly fans has seen a period of historic dominance in derbies and in winning trophies that is generally barely matched in football history.

See also  When Paolo Di Canio Managed Swindon Town

Teasing Between the Fans

Both sets of fans still tease each other about their club’s success. Both of them see their club as the biggest in the world and they adore it to death.

Al Ahly fans always talk about their historic dominance and that their trophies need two or three clubs combined to match. Zamalek loyalists brag about being the only club in the world to win seven trophies in one season.

Zamalek, also known as The Royal Club, has fans who claim that Al Ahly is the most popular club in Egypt and Africa and that the playing field is unfair. They always complain that refereeing is always on Al Ahly’s side. Red Devils fans counter that by saying that their success in Africa and the Club World Cup show that their dominance is down to their performances and not outside factors.

The African Club of the Century is one of the main points of contention between the two sets of fans. Zamalek supporters say they deserve the title as they were the club that won the most African trophies in the past century.

Whereas those with allegiances to Al Ahly say it is none of our business that CAF has seen them as the club that deserved it and awarded them the title. The issue was so big and contentious that Zamalek threatened to go to FIFA and CAS to reclaim the African Club of the Century title.

Another point of contention between the two sides is the biggest win in Derby history. Zamalek say they own it, beating Al Ahly 6-0 in 1942 and 1944 in the Cairo League.

See also  Premier League Wants to Abandon FFP Restrictions & Introduce 'Luxury Tax'

Al Ahly says this was a friendly competition and that they hold the biggest win in Derby history, beating Zamalek 6-1 in the league in 2002.

The rivalry between the two clubs is real and fierce. The match is mostly refereed by a foreign referee to eliminate any suspicion of favouritism for one club. This way, no set of supporters can state that the officials have a biased view.

Walk around the streets of Cairo in the next few days and after the game and the only thing you will find people talking about is this game and both sets of fans teasing each other.

Zamalek signed 11 players in January after being transfer banned and their fans are confident about stopping Al Ahly’s title-winning spree. Zamalek fans think that Al Ahly won all these trophies in the past year because Zamalek was not there due to the transfer ban.

On the other side, Al Ahly has won 5 trophies in the last year: the League, the CAF Champions League, an Egyptian Cup, two Egyptian Super Cups and finishing 3rd in the Club World Cup.

Yet, losing this game would be unacceptable for Al Ahly fans, not just because of the trophy but also because it means losing to their fiercest rival.

If you are a neutral learning about this rivalry, watch the Egyptian Cup Final in 2007, the league meeting in 2010, and the cup meeting in 2011 to understand what this game means to both sets of fans.

This game counts as a trophy itself between the two sets of fans, so who wins the fiercest Middle East Derby, the Egyptian Cup, and the Cairo Derby bragging rights again?

About The Author

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply