Johannesburg (AFP) – John Bakata scored in added time to give TP Mazembe from the Democratic Republic of Congo a 1-0 win over Renaissance Berkane of Morocco on Sunday in a CAF Confederation Cup semi-final first leg.
The 19-year-old substitute struck on 95 minutes in the southern Congolese city of Lubumbashi, nodding a Glody Likonza cross past goalkeeper Hamza Hamiani.
Berkane host the return match between two former holders of the competition next Sunday and the overall winners will face Al Ahly Tripoli of Libya or Orlando Pirates of South Africa in the final.
Mazembe, seeking a record-equalling third Confederation Cup title after winning the 2016 and 2017 finals, dominated Berkane on an artificial pitch without translating their superiority to goals.
The hosts had 26 goal attempts, but only seven on target, and won the corner count 16-0 before Bakata broke the deadlock.
Mazembe coach Franck Dumas replaced all three forwards during the second half and the gamble finally paid off with the match seemingly heading for a goalless stalemate.
Constantly under pressure, 2020 Confederation Cup winners Berkane had five players yellow-carded as they constantly committed fouls and wasted time.
History favours Mazembe reaching the final as the five previous clubs who established 1-0 first-leg leads in Confederation Cup semi-finals all qualified.
Mazembe are the equal second most successful club in CAF competitions, winning 11 titles, including the Champions League five times.
The Confederation Cup is the African equivalent of European second-tier competition the Europa League and the winners pocket $1.25 million (1.2 mn euros).
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