Tunisian side, CS Sfaxien has won the 2013 Orange CAF Confederation Cup title despite a 2-1 loss to TP Mazembe of DR Congo on Saturday in Lubumbashi.
Sfaxien annexed the title 3-2 on aggregate thanks to a 2-0 win from the final first leg last week in Rades. The Tunisian outfit this confirmed their status as the most successful in the second-tier continental club championship after successes in 2007 and 2008.
Mazembe led by two goals at half time with strikes from Cheibane Traore and Mbwana Samatta before pacy winger Fakheridine Ben Youssef scored in the dying embers to take game beyond the hosts.
The Congolese got off to a perfect start but paid the price for their failure to bury the several chances that came their way.
It took just 10 minutes to break the deadlock as Traore tapped in a rebound after Sfaxien goalie Rami Jeridi had spilled Given Singuluma’s shot unto his path.
Mazembe coach, Patrice Carteron handed starting roles to Ghanaian duo, Yaw Frimpong and Solomon Asante and they made their presence felt with surging runs upfront. Asante in particular remained a constant threat to the Sfaxien backline, and was often fouled by his markers.
On 20 minutes, captain Tresor Mputu set up Traore to double the lead but the Malian blasted wide from close range.
Three minutes later, Samatta scored the second goal from a three-man move with Asante and Mputu as the actors. Mputu fetched Asante, who lobbed for the Tanzanian to blast past Jeridi to set the stadium into ecstasy.
At that point, Mazembe needed a third to kill it and they pressed their opponents further. Sfaxien resorted to long balls relying on the pace of Fakheridine, who was a danger to the Mazambe defence anytime he moved upfront. Their first attempt at goal was on 25 minutes but Fakheridine headed wide from Didier Lebri’s cross.
Two minutes before half time, Jeridi was to his side’s rescue with a pointblank save from a Traore shot after Mputu had put him through.
Mazembe resumed strongly with Asante tormenting the Sfaxien defence, but lacked the cutting edge upfront. On 55 minutes, Asante weaved his way past his marker and squared Mputu, but the latter volleyed wide. Carteron then varied his tactics with Rainford Kalaba and Boubacar Diarra replacing Siguluma and Samatta.
On 72 minutes, the homers were dealt a major after Asante pulled out after an injury and his replacement Thomas Ulimwengu, announced his presence with a thunderbolt that was spilled out by Jeridi minutes later.
Sfaxien also had their turn with Gabon-import Didier Ibrahim Ndong and Ferdjani Sassi fouling the attacks of the Congolese.
Ten minutes from time, Mazembe kept the visitors defence boiling but Sfaxien survived after Maman Issoufou headed out an Mputu header from a goalmouth action.
Sfaxien returned it in style and in the 88th minute, Fakhreddine stunned the home crowd with a header that beat goalkeeper Muteba Kidiaba for the first and only time in the game. A throw-in effected by Issoufou was flicked by Ferdjani to Fakhreddine, who headed in to make matters worse for Mazembe.
The goal meant Mazembe had to score two more goals to turn the tide their favour but the Tunisians defended gallantly and cruised to victory.
Sfaxien are 660,000 US Dollars richer by the feat and will face Al-Ahly of Egypt in next year’s Orange CAF Super Cup.