JOHANNESBURG — South African football giants Orlando Pirates have their work cut out for them in the Caf Champions League after Al-Ahly beat Zamalek 4-2 today to go top of Group A.
Omar Gaber opened the scoring for Zamalek on four minutes, but Waleed Soliman and Ahmed Abdul Zaher put the hosts back in front going into the break.
Mohamed Aboutrika and Ahmed Fathy added a third and fourth in the second half, before Ahmed Hassan added a note of respectability to the scoreline for the visitors late on.
Ahly now lead Group A with 10 points, while Bucs are level with AC Leopards on seven.
Zamalek bring up the rear on four points and are out of semi-final reckoning.
There is one round of matches to play, with Zamalek facing AC Leopards and Pirates hosting Ahly at Orlando Stadium next weekend, September 22.
The top two teams go through to the semi-finals.
So what is left for Pirates is this: A win against Ahly will see them through and topping the group, even if Leopards win.
If three teams are tied at the top it creates a mini-league of points gained against the other two. The Buccaneers would then have seven, Ahly six and Leopards four.
If Pirates draw and Leopards win or draw, Ahly will go through as group winners along with the Congolese side.
If Pirates lose they are out, even if Zamalek beat Leopards. That scenario would leave another mini-league which would have Leopards on seven points, Zamalek on six and Pirates finishing rock-bottom.
While Group A of the Caf Champions League group stages remains there for the taking, Group B have already had their semifinalists decided.
Tunisian giants Esperance secured top spot on Saturday following a 3-2 defeat of Stade Olympique de Rades.
Yannick Ndjeng was the hero with a brace and Oussama Darragi netted the other to make two goals from Ruben Gouveia nothing but consolations.
And on Sunday, CotonSport of Cameroon ensured their progression after a goalless draw against Sewe Sport in San Pedro.
The will now face one of Orlando Pirates, AFC Leopards or eight-time champions Al-Ahly in the last four.