TP Mazembe completed a successful defence of the Orange CAF Champions League after holding Tunisia’s Esperance to a 1-1 draw in the final second leg on Saturday at the November 7 Stadium in Rades near Tunis.
Mazembe were winners in 1967 and 1968, and their successfully defence lands them a place in the in the historic books of African football with respect to the foremost club competition.
With a 5-0 win from the first leg held in Lubumbashi a fortnight ago, Les Corbeaux were highly tipped to annex the title and they prove their worth by coming from behind to hold the 1994 winners and cruise on to the title.
Esperance who displayed a spirited output in their quest neutralize the huge deficit from the first leg started on a high note and their efforts yielded dividends minutes later.
On 23 minutes, Ghanaian-born Harrison Afful broke the deadlock to set the tone for his club’s dream of masterminding the biggest upset in the annals of continental club football.
However, their chances were dealt a major blow as defender Aymen Ben Amor was given the marching off orders a minute later and his exit really affected the play of the ‘Blood and Gold’.
Mazembe, cheered on by a handful of loyal fans resumed the second more purposeful thanks to their numerical advantage.
Seven minutes past the hour mark, Deo Kanda equalized for the Congolese with a strike that effectively killed off the hopes and aspirations of the hosts.
Both sides had equal share of the remainder of the exchanges with Mazembe having the last laugh after South African referee Daniel Bennett brought proceedings to an end.
By the victory, Mazembe claimed the 1,500,000 US Dollar prize-money and will represent the continent at the FIFA Club World Cup scheduled for the United Arab Emirates in December.
Esperance, losing finalists in 1999 and 2000 received 1,000,000 US Dollars for emerging runners-up for the third time.