CAF Champ League: Mazembe topples Al Ahly of Egypt


TP Mazembe from the Democratic Republic of Congo knocked Al Ahly of Egypt off the top of a CAF Champions League group with a 2-0 home victory Sunday that ensured a semi-finals place.

Consistent scorer Mbwana Samata put the Ravens ahead just after half-time at a packed stadium in southern mining city Lubumbashi and Mukok Kanda added a second goal on the hour mark against the already-qualified visitors.

It was the third consecutive victory for the four-time African champions after collecting only one point from a possible six in the opening rounds, and avenged a 2-1 loss to Ahly in Cairo.

Mazembe and Ahly have 10 points with one round to go in Group B and if the Congolese can match the Egyptians’ result on matchday 6 they will win the mini-league on the head-to-head rule.

Both teams want to finish first and avoid a probable semi-finals showdown with defending champions Esperance of Tunisia, who are unbeaten in 18 matches spanning two seasons.

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The Tunisians host Sunshine Stars from Nigeria late Sunday in Rades and need only a draw to clinch top spot as they chase the $1.5 million first prize and a passport to the 2012 FIFA Club World Cup in Japan.

Victory for Mazembe eliminated surprise qualifiers Berekum Chelsea of Ghana from the title race after they managed only a 1-1 draw away to Zamalek of Egypt, who are doomed to finished bottom of the table.

Tanzania-born Samata raised his Champions League goal haul to six this season by pushing the ball into the net on 48 minutes when Ahly goalkeeper Sherif Ekrami failed to hold a cross.

Slick penalty-area passing created space for Kanda, who rifled a low shot past Ekrami to seal a more comfortable victory than expected over record six-time Champions Leayue winners Ahly.

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