TP Mazembe, SuperSport battle for first-leg advantage

TP Mazembe, SuperSport battle for first-leg advantage
Club Africain player Oussama Darragi (R) fights for the ball with Supersport United FC player Reneilwe Letsholonyane (L) during the semi-final return 2017 CAF Confederations Cup game between Club Africain and Supersport United FC in Tunis, Tunisia on 22 October 2017 © BackpagePix

by Graeme Jackson

Sunday Nov 19, 2017. 14:00

TP Mazembe and SuperSport United will battle to take a first-leg advantage when they meet in the final of the CAF Confederation Cup this weekend. The match is set for the Stade TP Mazembe in Lubumbashi on Sunday 19 November, kick-off at 15h30 CAT.

Mazembe, the reigning Confed Cup champions, earned the right to defend their title by finishing top of Group D before defeating Al-Hilal Al-Ubayyid (7-1 on aggregate) and FUS Rabat (1-0 on aggregate) in the quarter- and semifinals respectively.

SuperSport, who are appearing in their first continental competition final, finished second in Group D before overcoming Zesco United (on away goals after a 2-2 aggregate draw) and Club Africain (4-2 on aggregate) in the quarter- and semifinals respectively.

The teams met twice in the group stage back in June, drawing 2-2 in Lubumbashi and 0-0 in the return game in Tshwane.

Mazembe have enjoyed intensive preparations for the Confed Cup final, first undergoing a training camp in Morocco where they played several friendlies, before defeating Ecofoot Katumbi 2-0 in their 2017/18 domestic league opener on Monday.

Club president Moise Katumbi has called on TPM fans to fill the stadium and give the Ravens huge support ahead of their clash against United.

“This season, despite the elimination in the Champions League, the club has been performing and the players have invested to reach the final of the CAF [Confederation] Cup. They deserve a really full stadium for this very important final, which is important to win at home,” Katumbi is quoted by the club’s website.

“I know that the supporters of the TPM are always able to mobilise to take their team to success. It is with the support of a large audience that our players will pull a lot of strength from the stands to defeat SuperSport. The players are waiting for everyone to show a sacred union around the team to win."

SuperSport’s preparations have been hit by an extended absence for their Bafana Bafana players - Ronwen Williams, Clayton Daniels, Dean Furman, Bradley Grobler and Morgan Gould - who were part of the national team’s trip to Dakar for their final 2018 World Cup qualifier on Tuesday night.

Matsatsantsa midfielder Aubrey Modiba, who scored against TP Mazembe in the 2-2 draw five months ago, is looking forward to the battle.

"I have not missed a game in the Confed Cup. I am only one who has played every game and I am happy. It shows that there is something I am doing right,” Modiba told KickOff.

“I just have to keep performing consistently. Credit to the coaches for giving me the opportunity. My family has also been supporting me. It’s not only about me, but about the team as well."

Modiba added, "We know about them. It’s not like we don’t know what to expect. They are a good side and it will be tough. It will be a different ball game because it’s a final. Everyone will want to perform.

"I was happy to score against Mazembe. It’s a big team on the continent. Not everyone gets to score in Lubumbashi."

The match in Lubumbashi this weekend will be handled by Algerian referee Mehdi Abid Cherif. The return leg is set for the Lucas Moripe Stadium on November 25.

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