CS Constantine have powered to the top of Group C in the CAF Champions League with an impressive 3-0 win over TP Mazembe at the Mohamed Hamlaoui Stadium on Saturday night.
he result sees the Algerian newcomers in first place on six points, while the Ravens have been pushed down to third, sitting between Tunisia’s Club Africain and Ismaily of Egypt.
Constantine were the dominant force through the first half, but they struggled to create clear chances with which to test Mazembe goalkeeper Aime Bakula.
The Algerians also suffered an injury blow when they were forced to replace Mohamed Lamine Abid with Ismael Belkacemi inside the opening half hour.
The DR Congo giants were happy to sit back and let their hosts make the running, while they sought to strike on the counter attack and use the finishing skills of veteran Tresor Mputu.
Eight minutes after the restart CSC claimed the lead through a somewhat fortunate goal: defender Houcine Benayada sent a cross from the right flank which floated home beyond the reach of Bakula.
Mazembe responded by sending on young forward Meschack Elia from the substitutes’ bench, but the hosts doubled their lead on 65 minutes through Nasreddine Zaalani, sending the Mohamed Hamlaoui Stadium into dreamland with a fine low finish on the turn.
Mazembe nearly came up with a replay on 70 minutes, striking on target direct from a free kick, but goalkeeper Chamseddine Rahmani pulled off an excellent save to defend his team’s two-goal advantage.
And his efforts were not in vain, with Constantine able to add a third goal in the 80th minute through Sid Ali Lamri, completing a great night for the Algerian team.
The clubs will be back in Champions League action on the first weekend of February, with Constantine away to Ismaily and Mazembe visiting Club Africain.
CS Constantine (0) 3 (Benayada 53’, Zaalani 65’, Lamri 80’)
TP Mazembe 0
CSC: Rahmani, Benayada, Zaalani, Chahrour, Salhi, Yattou, Belkheir (Beldjilali 86’), Haddad, Lamri, Djabout (Bencherifa 77’), Abid (Belkacemi 28’)
TPM: Bakula, Mpeko, Chongo, Mondeko, Ochaya, Koffi, Sinkala, Sissoko (Mukendi 83’), Mputu (Mika 75’), Ushindi (Elia 58’), Muleka