In Friday’s later CAF Champions League matchup, CR Belouizdad of Algeria made a late breakthrough to defeat TP Mazembe by a 2-0 scoreline and eliminate the Congolese titans from contention for the quarter-finals. The result in Algiers moves CRB into second place with a two point lead ahead of Al-Hilal Omdurman, who drew in Sudan earlier in the day.
The odds were never in favor of the visitors who had to contend with several absences due to late returns from international duty. Two of the Ravens’ international players who were available, Zambia defender Kabaso Chongo and Malian goalkeeper Ibrahim Mounkoro, did well to anchor the backline and keep an inefficient CRB attack out in the first half. In fact, the best first-half chance fell to the visitors in the 23rd minute when a CRB defensive slip up gave Joel Beya two strikes on goal. However, goalkeeper Toufik Moussaoui did brilliantly to deny Beya on both efforts.
By the halftime whistle the match was poised for either side to take the three points but it looked unlikely that there would be a goal. However, despite excellent goalkeeping from Mounkoro, CRB began to show more focus and controlled the game in the second-half. The opener finally came in the 84th minute when substitute Ahmed Gasmi had his shot saved, but collected the rebound out wide and put in a perfect cross that Amir Sayoud headed in. A desperate Mazembe side conceded the second soon after Gasmi found his way past two defenders and cut back for Youcef Bechou to slide into an open net.
The elation was clearly evident for CRB, who doubled their low goal tally for the campaign with the result and will now travel to Mamelodi Sundowns for their final group stage match. CRB will be hoping that Mazembe are willing to play spoiler in their game at home to Al-Hilal, who will need a victory to overtake CRB. Highlights are below.