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Flying start sets up win for DRC´s Mazembe

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 14 Sep 2008

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Tout Puissant Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo scored early in each half to defeat Cotonsport Garoua of Cameroon 2-0 in the African Champions League on Sunday.

Prolific marksman Mputu Mabi put the home team ahead 65 seconds into the Group B showdown before a capacity 30,000 crowd and Dioko Kaluyituka increased the lead three minutes into the second half.

Cotonsport thought they had reduced the arrears when they found the net from close range on 66 minutes, only for the effort to be ruled offside.

Mazembe also had a goal disallowed for offside near the end of a lively match in which Cotonsport won plenty of possession only to be let down by tame finishing.

Playing in the southern city of Lubumbashi is always a challenge given the hard bumpy pitch, and the direct approach of the Congolese worked better than the more intricate build-up of the Cameroonians.

The result lifted Mazembe from the bottom to the top of the standings, level with Cotonsport on seven points, but ahead on goal difference, while Enyimba of Nigeria are one point behind and Al-Hilal of Sudan two back.

Cotonsport, who would have qualified for the semi-finals had they beaten Mazembe, get another chance Saturday to make the penultimate phase when they host Enyimba in Garoua.

Mazembe complete their six-match programme away to Hilal the same day and a win for the 1967 and 1968 African champions would put them in line for a place among the last four contenders.

There are few deadlier finishers in Africa than Mabi and when Henri Minka failed to cut off a cross, the Mazembe captain darted through the middle to fire past goalkeeper Kassali Daouda.

Kaluyituka turned a defender inside the penalty area before beating Daouda with a low shot into the corner and Mazembe should have added a late third when Tshamalenge Kabundi broke through but he was foiled by the goalkeeper.

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