Soccer-Zamalek win away in first leg of Champions League semi-final

CASABLANCA, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Achraf Bencharki’s first-half goal earned Egyptian side Zamalek a 1-0 win over Moroccan hosts Raja Casablanca in the first leg of their African Champions League semi-final on Sunday.

The result boosted Zamalek chances of setting up a clash against bitter Cairo rivals Al Ahly in next month’s final.

Al Ahly beat Wydad Casablanca 2-0 in the first leg of their semi-final in a near-empty Mohamed V Stadium in Casablanca on Saturday.

Bencharki headed home at the back post at the end of winger Ahmed Sayed’s cross to give Zamalek an 18th minute lead, with the home side guilty of some sloppy defending.

Morocco-born Bencharki had another good chance to add a second early in the second half but overran the opportunity with just the Raja goalkeeper to beat.

Raja dominated the second half and created several half chances but could not break down a watertight Zamalek defence.

Zamalek will host next week’s return tie in Egypt. (Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Pritha Sarkar)