CAPS United scored a crucial away goal in a brave 1-1 draw against five- time African Champions TP Mazembe at the Stade TP Mazembe Stadium in the first leg, first round of the African Champions League on Sunday.
By Tafadzwa Ndiraire
The Zimbabwe champions raced into the lead in the first half following an own goal by TP Mazembe defender Mpheko. The lead however, proved temporary as Zambian international Reinford Kabala levelled matters on 9 minutes.
This means Caps United will now need at least a goalless draw in the return leg at the National Sports Stadium in Harare next week to go through to the lucrative group stage of the African Champions League.
The DRC champions, who are also the Confederations Cup title holders, have proved a difficult team to beat in their own backyard but the Zimbabwean champions who won their first championship since 2005 last year, secured a crucial away goal that will come in handy in the second leg.
Caps United appeared to draw inspiration from Moroccan outfit Wydad Casablanca who managed to force a 1-1 draw at the Stade TP Mazembe, where they draw crowds averaging 18 000.
TP Mazembe eventually failed to make it to the group stages of the Caf Champions League. The wealthy DRC club dropped to the Caf Confederations Cup in which they won all their home matches in the group stages against Mo Bejaia, Medeama and Tanzania’s Young Africans.
Tunisia’s Etoile du Sahel also managed to force a draw at the Stade TP Mazembe, but the DRC side went through and went all the way to win the tournament.
Caps United have targeted qualification to the group stage, which comes with huge financial rewards.
TP Mazembe have enjoyed success against Zimbabwean opposition, having upstaged Dynamos 2-1 in the Lubumbashi clash, while a year earlier, Monomotapa lost 2-0 at home, before the 5-0 thrashing away from home in the group stages.