TP Mazembe retain continental title
© AFP

TP Mazembe successfully defended their CAF Champions League title today after their second-leg tie with Esperance ended in a 1-1 draw, giving the DR Congo team a 6-1 aggregate victory.

Mazembe's victory ensured they became the first team to successfully defend the championship on two separate occasions after they first retained their crown in 1968. Tunisian champions Esperance, who lost the first-leg final in Lubumbashi 5-0 a fortnight ago, took the lead in the 24th minute through defender Harrison Afful.

Skipper Oussema Darragi scoffed his shot from inside the box after good work from Michael Eneramo allowing the ball to fall for the Ghanaian Afful to drill home. The host team were reduced to ten men just as they were celebrating the goal when Ben Amor was sent off for spitting at a Mazembe player.

Deo Kanda drew level for Mazembe in the 67th minutes when he outran his marker, before he slotted past the Esperance shot stopper Moez Ben Cherifia. Esperance took the game to TP Mazembe in front of a full house at the November 7 Stadium in Rades, near Tunis.

Nigeria international striker Eneramo threatened the Mazembe goal with a clever flick on 14 minutes, which rattled off the post before goalkeeper Robert Kidiaba scrambled it away to safety. Eneramo  - the top scorer of this year's competition with nine goals - came close on a couple of occasions before Esperance grabbed the opening goal.

Mazembe defended deep inside their area but the few times they launched fast counter attacks they troubled Esperance. Mulota Kabangu on the right side of attack was lively for the visiting team and three minutes from the interval striker Alain Kaluyituka's shot after a fast breakaway was blocked for a corner. The champions opened up after half time and they came close to restoring parity several times before they were finally rewarded in the 67th minute courtesy of substitute Deo Kanda. Kanda's equaliser took the fight out of Esperance. Mazembe will once again represent Africa at the FIFA Club World Cup, to be held in the United Arab Emirates next month.