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CAF Champions League




Moroccan giants Raja will go to Lubumbashi with a cushioning advantage, after managing a home 2-0 victory over DR Congo’s TP Mazembe at Mohamed V Complex in Casablanca on Friday night.

The 2019-20 CAF Champions League quarterfinals first leg saw two headed goals from Ben Malango and Badr Benoun in each half, as “The Green Eagles” soared to a convincing victory before the return leg, scheduled in Lubumbashi next weekend.

Raja were dealt an early blow when defender Abderrahim Achchakir grabbed a second minute injury to leave the pitch after just five minutes to Omar Boutayeb.

The hosts took the lead in the sixth minute. Sofiane Rahimi’s corner found Ben Malango’s header as the Congolese scored against his former club putting Raja ahead.

Mazembe could have equalized immediately but Rainford Kalaba’s bicycle kick just missed the target.


Rahimi could have doubled Raja’s lead at the quarter hour mark but his shot from inside the area found Sylvain Gbouho’s safe hands.

The game became tenser with both sides fighting for possession as the first half ended with the hosts leading 1-0.

Mazembe returned stronger after the break and piled pressure on Raja defense winning consecutive corners but without really threatening Anas Zniti between posts for the home side.

It was a story of swinging action as both sides exchanged possession but with rare chances at both ends.

Raja doubled their lead 11 minutes from time. Substitute and skipper Mohsine Motouali sent a curling cross that saw defender Badr Benoun sailing over everyone to head home after 79 minutes.


Rahimi should have made it 3-0 when he received a long ball to go one on one with Gbouho, but his looping shot missed the target narrowly.


Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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