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TP Mazembe wins CAF Confederation Cup

A Rainford Kalaba brace helped TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo outplay Mouloudia Bejaia of Algeria 4-1 Sunday to win the CAF Confederation Cup for the first time.

The Lubumbashi ‘Ravens’ won the second-tier African club competition 5-2 on aggregate after drawing the first leg against the ‘Crabs’ 1-1 in North Africa last weekend.

Merveille Bope and Jonathan Bolingi also scored for the dominant home side and Sofiane Khadir netted for the visiting team.

Mazembe led 2-0 at half-time and clinched overall victory just past the hour mark when Kalaba gave the hosts a three-goal second-leg advantage.

Success at a packed 18,000-seat Stade TP Mazembe in the southern Congolese mining region completed a hat-trick of CAF titles for Mazembe within 13 months.

They defeated another Algerian club, USM Alger, last November in the CAF Champions League final and overcame Etoile Sahel of Tunisia thee months later to lift the CAF Super Cup.

Bejaia’s Merveille Bope (L) vies with Mazembe’s Morgan Betorangal during the CAF Confederation cup final between Algerian Mouloudia Bejaia and Congolese TP Mazembe. AFP

Mazembe have won 10 CAF competitions since 1967, making them the second most successful club behind 19-title Al Ahly of Egypt.

By scoring twice, Zambia captain and winger Kalaba won the 2016 Confederation Cup Golden Boot with eight goals, two more than Angolan Arsenio ‘Love’ Cabungula.

Former goalkeeper Hubert Velud had the honour of becoming the first French coach of a Confederation Cup-winning team.

Other European handlers to achieve the feat were Swiss Michel Decastel, Ruud Krol from the Netherlands and Spaniard Juan Carlos Garrido.

It was a sad end to a giant-killing run by Bejaia, who became an Algerian top-flight club only three years ago and debuted in Africa this season.

Conceding four goals in one match was a shock for them after letting in only five in 11 matches before the second leg of the final.

They were the second club from the North African country to fall at the final Confederation Cup hurdle after Entente Setif lost the 2009 final on penalties to Stade Malien in Mali.

Bope, one of five Congolese in the Mazembe starting line-up, sneaked in at the far post to poke a deflected Jean Kasusula free[-kick into the net on six minutes.

Kalaba doubled the lead three minutes before half-time with a looping volley from just outside the box after a swift counterattack.

A perfect pass from Ghanaian Solomon Asante put Kalaba through to beat goalkeeper Chamseddine Rahmani on 61 minutes and Mazembe were cruising to glory.

After Khadir pulled one goal back on 74 minutes with a snap shot past Ivorian goalkeeper Sylvain Gbohouo, Mazembe took just 120 seconds to regain a three-goal lead on the day.

Bolingi, the son of a former DR Congo goalkeeper, took advantage of slack marking to stab a cross into the net at the far post.


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