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CS Sfaxien beat TP Mazembe in Confed Cup final first leg - November 23, 2013
CS Sfaxien play against TP Mazembe in Rades, Tunisia
CS Sfaxien play against TP Mazembe in Rades, Tunisia | Enlarge
Tunisian club side CS Sfaxien edged out visiting DR Congo’s TP Mazembe 2-0 in the first leg of the Orange CAF Confederation Cup final match played Saturday 23 November night in Rades, Tunisia. A first half strike by Gabonese midfielder Didier Ibrahim N'Dong after 15 minutes and a late strike in the 90th minute by substitute Yassine Khenissi separates the two sides going into the deciding match next Saturday in Lubumbashi. Sfaxien talisman Fakhreddine Ben Youssef was the provider for both goals

The host started the more purposeful and in the very first minute lively winger Didier Lebri weaved his way past his marker but his shot could only find the side net. Ferjani Sassi was allowed room to run at Mazembe defence and with his markers hesitating to tackle the midfielder shot at goal and Muteba Kidiaba in goal had to beat the shot away for the first corner. Mazembe ‘s response was swift with captain Tresor Mputu picking the ball in midfield before exchanging passes with Mbwana Samatta and when Mputu got the return he unleashed a ferocious drive that needed acrobatic save from goalkeeper Rami Jridi who punched it back into play.

Sfaxien plied the flanks with intent and in Fakhreddine Ben Youssef on the right and Lebri operating from the left causing Jean Kasusula and Joel Kimwaki in Mazembe defence some anxious moments. Stopila Sunzu and Eric Nkulukuta found themselves dragged out of position as they sought to stop the runs from the wings. Ben Youssef was a handful and it was from his fine run on the flank that Sfaxien scored the opener. Upon hitting the byline Ben Youssef cut back a delightful ball to an onrushing N’Dong who hit a hard and low shot that sailed beyond diving Kidiaba into the bottom right corner.

Mazembe upped the ante in the second half and should have equalized when their Tanzania duo, Samatta and Thomas Ulimwengu combined to carve the Sfaxien defence open. Some good play on the left flank by Samatta ended with a cross that reached Ulimwengu but his shot inside the box could only graze the upright with 73 minutes gone. Mazembe went close again from Given Singulumba header as they searched for the equaliser.

At the other end Kidiaba was becoming busier as he denied Idrissa Kouyate and rushed out to cut a dangerous ball played in by Sfaxien captain Ali Maaloul. Kidiaba’s next rush off his line almost proved costly as Khenessi rounded him up and shot at goal only to see Kimwaki make a goalline clearance.

Sfaxien were not to be denied a precious second goal for long as a few minutes later, Fakhreddine Ben Youssef broke on the left flank and intelligently held back to find Yassine Khanessi with another pull back and the latter slotted home in the stoppage time and send the Sfaxien fans into celebrations.

The return leg final will be played in TP Mazembe's fortress of Lubumbashi on Saturday week to decide the overall winners of Africa's second-tier club competition.

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