TP Mazembe have firmly established themselves at the top of the log in Group A of the CAF Champions League after defeating hosts Zesco United 2-1 at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola on Saturday.
The result sees the Ravens top the standings with six points, while Team Ya Ziko drop to third with one point. The table will take clearer shape later this evening when Zamalek host Primeiro de Agosto.
Mazembe got off to a flying start and claimed the lead as early as the 10th minute, with forward Jackson Mulenga turning home Chico Ulindi’s assist to put the visitors 1-0 up.
Zesco looked for a reply through the likes of John Ching’andu, Winston Kalengo and Jesse Were, but Mazembe goalkeeper Sylvain Gbouhouo was in good form between the sticks for the Ravens.
The score remained 1-0 in favour of the DRC side up to half time, while 18 minutes into the second stanza they doubled their advantage. Once again Muleka was the man on the mark, sending an effort beyond goalkeeper Jacob Banda on 63 minutes to make it 2-0.
Team Ya Ziko struck back almost immediately to halve the deficit, with Were and Kalengo combining to see the latter net in the 67th minute and set up a tense final quarter of the clash in Ndola.
However, Mazembe were able to hold onto their advantage and walk away with three vital points which takes them a step closer to the quarterfinals.
The teams will return to Champions League action later this month, with Zesco welcoming Egyptian giants Zamalek and Mazembe away in Angola to Primeiro de Agosto.
Zesco United (0) 1 (Kalengo 67’)
TP Mazembe (1) 2 (Muleka 10’ 63’)
Zesco: Banda, Phiri, Mwape, Owino, Silwimba, Akumu (Sabumukama 42’), Mtonga, Chama, Were, Kalengo, Ching’andu (Aladeokun 82’)
Mazembe: Gbohouo, Mpeko, Chongo, Mondeko, Coulibaly, Koffi, Likonza, Mputu (Sinkala 71’), Ushindi, Muleka (Kalaba 78’), Tshibangu (Kabungu 72’)