Mazembe advance after winning battle of champions
Tout Puissant Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo filled the last African Champions League semi-finals place Sunday after a 1-0 home victory over Etoile Sahel of Tunisia.sports Updated: Sep 21, 2009 11:03 IST
Tout Puissant Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo filled the last African Champions League semi-finals place Sunday after a 1-0 home victory over Etoile Sahel of Tunisia.
Defender Kanyimbo Tshizeu settled the Group B showdown between former champions with a 35th-minute goal at Municipal Stadium in the southern Congolese city of Lubumbashi.
Success lifted Mazembe to the top of the mini-league with 12 points from six matches, two more than Heartland of Nigeria, who were defeated 2-1 in Harare by Monomotapa of Zimbabwe.
Etoile, who stunned Al-Ahly of Egypt 3-1 in Cairo two years ago to win the title for the first time, ended third on the table with just seven points and Monomotapa collected one less.
Mazembe face Al-Hilal of Sudan in the semi-finals next month and the other fixture will be an all-Nigeria affair between Kano Pillars and Heartland, 1988 runners-up when called Iwuanyanwu Nationale.
Monomotapa replaced coach Rodwell Dhlakama with assistant Taurai Mangwiro after four consecutive African losses and Daniel Kamunhenga gave the Harare club a 27th-mintue lead.
Emmanuel Omobiabi levelled nine minutes into the second half only for Tawanda Nyamandwe to grab the winner at Rufaro Stadium midway through the second half.
Kano snatched a 1-1 draw at Al-Merreikh of Sudan to top Group A by one point from Hilal, who also advanced to the penultimate stage despite a 2-0 loss at Zesco United of Zambia.
Pillars left it late in Omdurman with substitute Joseph Thompson levelling two minutes from full-time after Retshard Lado had put bottom-of-the-table Merreikh ahead from the penalty spot midway through the first half.
Appearing in the premier African club competition for the first time, Kano were shock qualifiers for the group phase at the expense of title holders Al-Ahly.
Win-less Merreikh proved a major disappointment, finishing bottom with just three points of a possible 18 despite a spending spree that netted leading 2008 Champions League scorer Stephen Worgu from Enyimba of Nigeria.
Worgu scored 13 goals in the competition last year, but did not manage even one in 12 outings this season for Merreikh, who also changed coaches during the group phase without success.
Zesco avenged an away loss to Hilal by scoring a couple of late goals from substitutes Enock Sakala and Nicholas Zulu in Lusaka and finished third with eight points, two less than the Omdurman club.
Veteran Sakala nodded in a Leonard Silungwe cross on 72 minutes and Zulu struck six minutes later after slick passing had carved open the Sudanese rearguard.