TANZANIAN International Mbwana Samatta continued his goal-scoring form as former African champions TP Mazembe defeated Zamalek 2-0 in the Champions League Group B match on Saturday.
The brilliance of Zamalek goalkeeper Abdel Wahed Al Sayed kept Mazembe at bay for 70 minutes before Ngandu Kasongo and Samatta scored the goals that brought a much-needed 2-0 victory. The defeat saw Zamalek's hopes of reaching the semi-final dealt a major blow as it has left them bottom of the group with no points.
The White Knights, playing their first game under caretaker coach Ismail Youssef following the resignation of Hassan Shehata, are unlikely to book a last-four berth after suffering a third consecutive loss.
They appeared out of sorts against a determined Mazembe side, who were roared on by an enthusiastic crowd in Lubumbashi. Mazembe and Berekum have four points each and five-time Champions League winners Zamalek have yet to get off the mark at the halfway stage of the group, with the top two finishers advancing to the semi-finals.
Mazembe have four points, on level with Ghana's Berekum Chelsea and five-time Champions League winners Zamalek have yet to get off the mark at the halfway stage of the group, with the top two finishers advancing to the semi-finals. Al Ahly lead the group on six points.
Chances were few and far between in a dour and cautious first half, with Mazembe slightly gaining the upper hand with an early goal-scoring opportunity. The hosts almost went ahead as early as the fifth minute but were denied by a superb stop from Zamalek keeper Abdel-Wahed El-Sayed, whose one-handed save thwarted a close-range header from Zambian forward Rainford Kalaba.
With three defensive-minded midfielders and only one playmaker in their starting line-up, Zamalek lacked spark to trouble Mazembe's defence, which was barely threatened throughout the game.
Zamalek could not withstand a Mazembe onslaught after the break that exposed their defensive fragility and helped the four-time African champions to a deserved win.
The Cairo side's only genuine chance fell to towering striker Ahmed Gaafar, whose low shot was blocked at the near post by Mazembe keeper Muteba Kidiaba in the 57th minute. With ZamalekÕs backline nowhere to be seen, El-Sayed had to deal himself with a barrage of Mazembe attacks.
A volley from the unmarked Tresor Mputu went over the crossbar and Samatta fired wide with the goal at his mercy before El-Sayed pulled off a stunning save to block a powerful shot from Patrick Ochan. Mazembe's pressure paid dividends in the 70th minute when a mis-hit shot found Kasongo, who slotted home from close range after Zamalek's defence failed to clear a corner.
Samatta ensured the victory seven minutes later with a far-post header after connecting with a deep cross from the left.