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Linafoot: Victories for TP Mazembe and Saint-Éloi Lupopo, AS Vita Club fall in opener

It has been a while since we checked in with the top division of football in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Linafoot, but the 2023-24 season is underway despite various complications. After the difficulties that led to the cancellation of the 2022-23 campaign, a new format includes twenty clubs divided into two groups based on region before four clubs from each group qualify for a proposed championship stage. A few clubs who have not agreed to the new format and are not appearing at their scheduled matches have been punished with defeats by forfeit in the early stages of the current season.

The majority of top clubs in the nation are enjoying perfect starts to their campaigns in the meantime. TP Mazembe, FC Saint-Éloi Lupopo and DC Motema Pembe each earned victories over the last week to maintain perfect records while AS Vita Club, participants in the 2022-23 CAF Champions League group stage, fell to defeat in their opening match.

Mazembe defeated Lubumbashi Sport by a 3-0 score courtesy of two goals from forward Joël Beya. The participant with DR Congo at the 2020 African Nations Championship (CHAN) doubled his tally in the second half, sliding to apply the finish to a cross from Gabon national team member Louis Ameka Autchanga.

St-Éloi Lupopo, participating in Group A along with Mazembe and other clubs based mostly in the eastern half of the country, also continued their fine form in the early season, defeating Likasi-based US Panda 3-0 on Sunday. The Railway Workers are also perfect through three matches including a victory by forfeit in their opening match.

AS Vita Club, who are part of Group B that includes clubs based near Kinshasa and the western half of the country, did not fare as well in their opening match of the season on Sunday after falling to a 1-0 defeat against Dauphins Noirs in Kinshasa. VClub will be competing with the likes of DC Motema Pembe and AS Maniema Union who both earned victories this week. Maniema Union profited from a forfeit over AC Rangers.

The list of scores from the past week are below followed by highlights from victories for Mazembe and Saint-Éloi Lupopo as well as AS Vita Club’s defeat to Dauphins Noirs.

Scores

Sanga Balende 0-3 CS Don Bosco (Forfeit)

Céleste FC 1-3 DC Motema Pembe

US Panda 0-3 Saint-Éloi Lupopo

Lubumbashi Sport 0-3 TP Mazembe

AS Simba 1-1 Groupe Bazano

Maniema Union 3-0 AC Rangers (Forfeit)

AS Vita Club 0-1 Dauphins Noirs

Highlights

Lubumbashi Sport 0-3 TP Mazembe

US Panda 0-3 Saint-Éloi Lupopo

AS Vita Club 0-1 Dauphins Noirs

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