TP Mazembe secured a 2-1 win over USM Alger in Bologhine on Saturday, in the first leg of their 2015 CAF Champions League final tie.
The visitors started the more dangerous of the two sides, with Adama Traoré forcing a great save from Mohamed Zemmamouche after 20 minutes of play.
But the USMA keeper could do little to stop Rainford Kalaba’s attempt from a Thomas Ulimwengu’s cross eight minutes later.
And while Zemmamouche kept his side alive by winning a one-on-one situation with Nathan Sinkala in the 37th minute, Kalaba went from hero to zero after receiving his marching orders for an off the ball incident on the stroke of half-time.
Down to ten men for the remaining 45 minutes, Moïse Katumbi’s protégés managed to keep the locals at bay in the early stages of the second stanza, winning a penalty after Hocine El Orfi deliberately handled the ball inside the box shortly after the hour mark.
Nathan Sinkala’s attempt was blocked by Zemmamouche, but USMA were also left with ten men for the remaining 25 minutes following El Orfi’s red card.
However, Mazembe won another penalty in the 76th minute after Mbwana Samatta was brought down by USMA skipper Nacereddine Khoualed, with the Tanzania international striker sending Zemmamouche the wrong way to double their lead.
Second-half substitute Mohamed Seguer managed to pull a goal back two minutes from time, but that was too little too late for the Algerians, who will have to pull something very special out of their hat in Lubumbashi to claim their first ever African crown.
The return leg is scheduled for 8 November at Stade TP Mazembe.
USM Alger 1 (0) – (1) 2 TP Mazembe
Goals: Rainford Kalaba (28’), Mbwana Samatta (77’) for TP Mazembe; Mohamed Seguer (88’) for USMA
USM Alger: Zemmamouche, Benayada, Boudebouda, Mazari, Khoualed, El Orfi, Ferhat, Koudri, Nadji, Beldjilali, Benmoussa
TP Mazembe: Kidiaba, Frimpong, Kimwaki, Coulibaly, Boateng, Diarra, Sinkala, Kalaba, Ulimwengu, Samatta, Traore