Algerian side CR Belouizdad took a huge step towards qualification to the quarter finals of the Total CAF Champions League after a 2-0 victory over DR Congo giants TP Mazembe at the Stade 5 Juillet in Algiers on Friday.
It was a substitute’s show as Belouizdad left it late, scoring two goals within two minutes. Ahmed Gasmi showed up with double assists laying up fellow substitute Amir Sayoud for the first in the 84th minute before he set up Youcef Bechou two minutes later.
The victory took Belouizdad to six points and will now have fate in their hands ahead of their final match against Mamelodi Sundowns.
For Mazembe though, they see their campaign come to a screeching halt as they remain pegged at the bottom of Group B with two points off two draws and will face Sudanese side Al Hilal in their last match.
The home side had the lion’s share of possession in the opening half and saw 70pc of the ball. But, they counted little for all their possession as they had four attempts on goal, only one of them being on target.
Their only effort to trouble Mazembe keeper Ibrahim Mounkoro was in the 11th minute when Mohamed Islam Bakir struck one from range, but it flew straight into the custodian’s arms.
On the other end, the Belouizdad keeper made a brilliant double save in the 23rd minute to keep his side in the game after his defender Chouhaib Keddad slipped as he tried to make a clearance.
Joel Beya picked up the ball with his first attempt at goal saved by the keeper’s leg while his second bite on the cherry off a volley was turned behind for a corner by the custodian.
Mazembe had another chance in the 33rd minute when a well diced cross from Godet Masengo found Isaac Tshibangu unmarked at the backpost, but the midfielder scuffed his lines, sending a tame shot straight to the keeper’s arms.
At the stroke of halftime the Algerians had another chance to get into the lead when Mohamed Islem Bekhir did well to find some space in the box, but his eventual attempt at a curling shot was
In the second half, it was all Belouizdad in the hunt for a goal and they had chances to get themselves tails up. In the 61st minute, Housseyn Selmi struck a snap shot from the edge of the box which went wide.
In the 64th minute, star man Amir Sayoud forced the keeper into a good save with a curling freekick which bore three other corners back to back but there was no goal forthcoming for the hosts. Sayoud had another chance at goal in the 72nd minute when he was sent through on goal by Belkhir, but the Mazembe keeper saved with his feet.
They should have scored with quarter of an hour remaining when an inviting delivery from Sayoud found Chamseddine Nessakh unmarked inside the box with the keeper off his line, but the defender could only watch as his header went wide.
The home side kept the pressure and were rewarded six minutes to time when Sayoud finally broke the deadlock. The substitute rose at the backpost to glance in a header off a Gasmi cross. The winger who had been on the pitch for only nine minutes had reacted quick to pick up the ball on the left after his initial shot was saved by the keeper.
Two minutes later, he laid off another inviting ball from the left, this time cutting back a cross to Bechou to gleefully tap home.