APR head coach Erik Paske has lauded his side’s resilience during Saturday’s Orange Champions League clash with reigning African champions TP Mazembe at Amahoro stadium.
Despite marching into the tie as clear underdogs, the army side stood their ground to edge the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) side with a late goal from Albert Ngabo.
Ngabo, who had come on as a second half substitute for the injured Abbas Rassou took the crowd on their feet with an 88th minute strike.
After a number of early blunders, the Amavubi defender overlapped from his right back position, cutting inside the Mazembe defense, dribbled past Hichani Himonde and Jean Kasusule before sending a powerful strike past TP Mazembe goal keeper Robert Kidiaba.
After the game, Paske had unrelenting praise for the team.
“We played good football, we were aggressive and we contained their strikers and this helped us to win.”
“I thank all the players and the coaching staff for their efforts. It was not an easy game but we managed to get the result we wanted,” the Dutch tactician said.
“It is far from over but for now; the team deserves to celebrate this victory.”
Earlier in the game, APR’s Labama Bokota and the Malawi duo of Victor Nyirenda and Chikuepo Msowoya had wasted three clear cut chances.
TP Mazembe skipper and reigning local Caf African player of the year, Tresor Mputu, who was playing behind the front pair of Given Singuluma and Sebastian Mwenza, failed to make any meaningful impact on the game in the first half.
In the second half, the 25-year-old, took the game to APR but could not breakdown the army side’s defense.
Mid way through the second half, Singuluma was replaced by Alain Kaluyituka while Kabangu Mulotapatou came on for Mwenza as the reigning champions searched for an equaliser.
The return leg will be played on the weekend of April 3-4 in Lumumbashi.