TP Mazembe down Royal AM in first-leg play-off tie

Abram Nteo
Abram Nteo

Royal AM suffered a 2-0 defeat to TP Mazembe in the first-leg of their CAF Confederation play-off tie on Wednesday afternoon.

Thwihli Thwahla made it to this stage after edging Zesco United on the away goals' rule, following a 1-1 draw on aggregate in the second preliminary round.

Mazembe, meanwhile, dropped down to the CAF Confederation Cup group stage play-offs after they were knocked out by Ugandan side Vipers on penalties following a goalless draw on aggregate in the CAF Champions League second preliminary round.

The Ravens had a lively start, as Jephte Kitambala had a big chance on 13 minutes after going clear on goal but he was denied by the AM goalkeeper Xolani Ngcobo and Adam Bossu had another opportunity from the rebound but he blazed his shot over the crossbar.

The South African outfit contained Mazembe afterwards and waited for chances on transitions and one golden chance fell to Mokete Mogaila shortly before the half-hour mark after a mistake at the back saw him through on goal but goalkeeper Baggio Siadi came out quickly to smother the danger.

Pamphile Mihayo's charges ran out of steam towards the end of the first stanza, as the visitors saw out the remainder of the half and were happy with the score deadlocked at half-time.

The home side were full of energy from the interval, especially after they made attacking changes, with Joel Baya and Rainford Kalaba entering the field.

Mazembe threatened on set-pieces and Ernest Luzolo eventually broke the deadlock shortly before the hour-mark with a header from a rebound after Ngcobo could not hold onto a cross.

Mazembe gained the momentum and Kalaba doubled their lead in the last 18 minutes with a strike past Ngcobo in a one-on-one, after he was put through on goal by a cushioned header from Bossu.

Royal AM threatened to get an away goal in the dying minutes but were denied a golden chance by Serge Mukoko, who snuffed out danger with a crucial clearance.

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