TP Mazembe underlined their status as one of the favourites to win the Caf Confederation Cup as they defeated Sudan’s Al-Hilal Al-Ubayyid 2-1 away from home on Saturday night.
The teams’ quarterfinal, first leg clash at the Al-Ubayyid Stadium was decided by a brace of goals from TPM striker Ben Malango, who helped the competition’s defending champions come from a goal down to claim the away win.
Al-Hilal enjoyed the early dominance and took the lead midway through the first half, with Mohamed Tahir’s shot finding the back of the net to put the hosts 1-0 up.
However, their advantage was short lived: the DRC giants drew level on the half hour mark through striker Ben Malango, who got in between two defenders to meet a cross and direct the ball beyond the reach of goalkeeper Akram Elhadi Salim.
The halftime break saw the teams still level, with the Congolese no doubt the happier of the two after scoring a valuable away goal.
The second half was a tense affair, with both teams looking to strike a potentially decisive blow, yet it looked set to end all square at 1-1.
Then, in the 83rd minute, Mazembe struck a blow to the hopes of their Sudanese opponents when Malango took advantage of some poor defending to net for the second time on the night and put his side 2-1 up.
The 23-year-old striker’s goals proved to the difference between the teams, with the Ravens holding out in what remained of the match to secure a valuable away victory and take a major stride toward the final four.
The return leg will be played next Sunday afternoon at the Stade TP Mazembe in Lubumbashi. The aggregate winners will face either FUS Rabat or CS Sfaxien in the semifinals.