Raja Claim First Leg Advantage Against Mazembe
Raja Casablanca claimed the first-leg advantage in the Africa Champions League quarter-finals as they recorded a 2-0 win on home soil against TP Mazembe at Mohamed V Complex.
The Green Eagles took an early lead through Ben Malango’s header from a Badr Banoum corner in the sixth minute before Isaac Tshibangu’s shot was deflected out for a throw-in on the opposite end.
Fabrica Ngah could have doubled the lead in the 13th minute when goalkeeper Sylvain Gbohouo miscalculated his clearance, but the midfielder failed to beat the custodian before Mohamed Zrido’s feeble shot was stopped by one of the Mazembe defenders after a rebound fell on his path.
Sanad Al Warfali then made a brilliant run down the right flank at the half-hour mark, but the Libyan international was denied by the goalkeeper before Soufiane Rahimi’s header went inches over the bar.
Mazembe created their first opportunity of the half in the 38th minute, as Jackson Muleka struck the upright from 12-yards out, before Badr Banoum cleared the rebound off the line.
Muleka was proving to be tough to handle for the Eagles defence and he came close in the 25th minute, as he curled one inch over the upright from a tight angle.
Jamal Sellami’s side were in control in the closing stages of the half and almost doubled their lead in the 41st minute but Omar Arjoune failed to steer his header on target from close range.
However, Mazembe failed to trouble Raja goalkeeper, Aanas Zniti, throughout the opening 45 minutes.
Ten minutes after the restart, Muleka met a left-wing cross from Isaama Mpeko, but the striker headed over from close range under no pressure from any defender.
In the 69th minute, Muleka wasted another glorious chance when substitute Thomas Ulimwengu slipped him through on goal, but he dragged his shot wide with just the keeper to beat.
Six minutes later, some swift build-up play from Raja saw Ngoma into space 16-yards out, but again he was denied by a good save from the keeper.
Mohamed Zrida cut in from the left flank and drove in a pass towards Malango, but he missed the ball in trying to help it towards goal and instead the ball rolled out of the pitch.
The Green Eagles doubled their lead in the 72nd minute courtesy of a powerful header from Badr Banoun, after a good build-up from the home side.
Mazembe piled on the pressure in the closing stages but Sellami’s side managed to hold on to claim the first-leg advantage.
How they lined up:
Raja Casabalanca: Anas Zniti (GK), Abderrahim Achchakir, Sanad Al Warfali, Badr Banoun (C), Fabrice Gael Ngah, Fabrice Luamba Ngoma, Mohamed Zrida, Omar Arjoune, Abdelilah Hafidi, Soufiane Rahimi, Ben Malango Ngita
TP Mazembe :Sylvain Gbohouo (GK), Issama Mpeko, Kabaso Chongo, Tandi Mwape, Joseph Ochaya, Christian Koffi Kouame, Glody Likonza, Miché Mika, Isaac Tshibangu, Rainford Kalaba (C), Jackson Muleka