Africans reach Club World Cup final

TP MAZEMBE became the first ever African team to reach the Club World Cup final, shocking Brazil's Copa Libertadores champions Internacional 2-0 yesterday.

Mazembe striker Mulota Kubangu scored the first goal in the 53rd minute, controlling a knockdown in the penalty area before placing a right-foot shot into the top corner past flat-footed goalkeeper Renan. Dioko Kaluyituka sealed the victory in the 85th minute, beating Renan at his near post with a driven shot from just outside the area.

"This is a day of pride and we have succeeded," Mazembe coach Lamine N'Diaye said. "I believe our players who I trained and played with every day are of high standard and achieved a great victory. This is good for the Congolese people. All Africans should be proud of this team."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In Saturday's final, Mazembe will face the winner of today's second semi-final between Inter Milan and Asian champions Seongnam Ilhwa.

Internacional were the better side in the early stages yesterday, transfixing their opponents with slick passing and controlling the majority of the possession in the first half.

Mazembe goalkeeper Muteba Kidiaba somehow saved Rafael Sobis's shot from close range after eight minutes before midfielder Tinga headed his side's best chance over the bar ten minutes later.

But Internacional failed to make the breakthrough, and, in the second half, Mazembe began to look dangerous on the counter-attack.

Mazembe came into the tournament without star striker Tresor Mputu, who has been banned for a year for assaulting a referee, but Kabungu made up for his absence with a goal of quality.

Once the frenetic Mazembe celebrations died down, Internacional went back on the attack, but shot after shot was denied by the inspirational Kidiaba and Kaluyituka took advantage of the spaces left behind in the Brazilians' defence to wrap up the win.

Internacional coach Celso Roth defended his team's attacking strategy and praised Kidiaba's performance.

"We created opportunities, but unfortunately we couldn't turn them into goals. Mazembe had the opportunities and scored," Roth said.