TP Mazembe claimed a 2-1 win over Kaitano Tembo’s SuperSport United in a 2017 Caf Confederations Cup final first-leg clash, at the Stade TP Mazembe in Lubumbashi yesterday.
Sipho Mbule scored the crucial away goal for the visitors, where Tembo — the former Zimbabwe international is the assistant coach — following Adama Traore’s opener.
Daniel Nii Adjei secured victory for the defending champions, who then failed to add to their scoreline despite a late onslaught.
In search of that vital away goal, Eric Tinkler named an offensive line up and what followed was a frantic opening half hour, with the two teams going toe-to-toe in an attacking battle.
Matsatsantsa should’ve hit the front on 12 minutes, but Bradley Grobler failed to hit the target from close range.
Thuso Phala was the creator-in-chief down the right flank to set up the SuperSport forward, who could only proceed to guide his shot over the crossbar with the goal at his mercy.
SuperSport bossed the ensuing minutes with Ley Matampi — favoured in goal to Sylvain Gbohouo — called into action to deny Phala, Dove Wome and Siyabonga Nhlapo in quick succession.
The Ravens, though, flexed their muscles soon after with Ushindi Kubanza unlucky to see his rasping effort — from an acute angle — canon off the woodwork.
Mazembe duly opened the scoring on 18 minutes with Adama Traore providing the sucker punch to send the home fans into delirium.
His left-footed shot from range caught Ronwen Williams off guard as the ball whistled over his head. The goalkeeper quickly proclaimed that he failed to pick up the flight of the ball.
Following what was a frantic start to the clash, the tempo cooled down before picking up once more moments before the interval.
SuperSport launched a late siege on the Ravens goal, but the Democratic Republic of Congo giants survived as Grobler failed to convert. Mazembe held a slender lead as the teams headed for the tunnel at the end of the first stanza.
Matsatsantsa pulled level two minutes after the break through Mbule, whose stunning long-range effort flew past Matampi.
The SuperSport teenager, called into the starting line-up in place of the suspended Reneilwe Letsholonyane, silenced the home crowd with a memorable strike.
The hosts regained the lead in the 67th minute as Adjei hammered home from the edge of the area following a well-worked corner-kick routine.
Williams was found wanting once more, with the unusual bounce off the artificial turf catching him off guard.
Mazembe were all over SuperSport in the final 10 minutes and were particularly unlucky not to be awarded a penalty after Dean Furman hacked down Solomon Asante inside the area.
Tinkler’s troops, though, held firm as they now turn their attention to the second leg in South Africa.
The reverse fixture will take place at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville next Saturday, 25 November —SuperSport