TB Mazembe are African champions

LUBUMBASHI - Tout Puissant Mazembe of Democratic Republic of Congo bridged a 41-year gap Saturday by regaining the African Champions League title. But it was a close call before a sell-out 35,000 crowd in Lubumbashi with Mazembe defeating Heartland of Nigeria 1-0 to collect the record 1.5 million dollars first prize on away goals.
T.P. Mazembe team pose before the first leg final match of the Orange CAF Champions League
T.P. Mazembe team pose before the first leg final match of the Orange CAF Champions League

LUBUMBASHI - Tout Puissant Mazembe of Democratic Republic of Congo bridged a 41-year gap Saturday by regaining the African Champions League title.

But it was a close call before a sell-out 35,000 crowd in Lubumbashi with Mazembe defeating Heartland of Nigeria 1-0 to collect the record 1.5 million dollars first prize on away goals.

Heartland took a 2-1 lead into the second leg of the final and held out for 74 minutes before Victor Ezuruike conceded an own goal to bring the trophy back to copper-rich southern Congo.

Mazembe won the fledgling African championship in 1967 and 1968 and this year they budgeted five million dollars to try and lift a trophy that symbolises continental club supremacy.

Part of the money was spent on importing 59-year-old French coach Diego Garzitto and his pre-match prediction that the crowd packed into the Kenya Stadium would drive the Congolese ‘Crows’ to success came true.

Apart from the financial windfall, Mazembe qualify for the end-of-year FIFA Club World Cup in the United Arab Emirates with Spanish giants Barcelona among possible opponents.

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