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TP Mazembe reach Champions League group stage

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BBC Sport - May 8, 2011
TP Mazembe

Reigning champions TP Mazembe edged through to the group stage of the Champions League on Sunday.

The DR Congo side beat Morocco's Wydad Casablanca 2-0 in the third round, second-leg game at home in Lubumbashi.

This means they reach the group phase of the continent's flagship club tournament, 2-1 on aggregate.

Two-second half goals from Patou Kabangu and Cheibane Traore helped Mazembe to advance despite a tough first-half display by Wydad.

It was 0-0 at half-time and Mazembe missed a penalty early in the second period, but Kabangu put the champions in front on 75 minutes with a long range strike.

Their progress was confirmed when Cheibane Traore fired home from close range in stoppage time at the end of the game.

The Wydad coach Fakhreddine Rajhi was sent to the stands by the referee after persistently questioning the official's decisions.

There was better luck for Wydad's compatriots Raja Casablanca as they beat Ivorian side Asec Mimosas 5-4 on penalties on Saturday to advance.

With the tie finishing 1-1 after regulation time, the three-time winners edged through on spot-kicks.

Mohsine Moutouali converted a 90th minute penalty for the Moroccans to cancel out the visitors' lead.

Adama Bakayoko gave the visitors the lead on 57 minutes before Raja rallied to take the game into a shoot-out.

Raja held a distinct advantage going into the third round game after the tie was reduced to one leg due to civil unrest in Ivory Coast.

But the visitors came out fighting in the game in Casablanca and deservedly took the lead when Bakayoko struck from the edge of the box.

They clung to the lead until the final minute when Moutouali converted a penalty and forced the game into penalties.

Another former champions Mouloudia Alger of Algeria also qualified for the lucrative mini-league stage of the top-flight continental club competition.

Brahim Bedbouda converted an 88th-minute penalty to give 1976 title holders Mouloudia a 3-2 victory over Angolan police team InterClubein Algiers after a drawn first encounter.

A seesaw struggle saw Youssef Sofiane and Abdelmalek Mokdad give the local team the lead twice and captain Pedro Henriques and 'Antonio' equalise for the gallant visitors who trailed 2-1 at half-time.

Entente Setif of Algeria, another former title holder in the field, suffered a surprisingly heavy 4-1 defeat at Cotonsport Garoua of Cameroon in a first leg delayed by African youth championship call-ups.

Meanwhile, crowd trouble marred the Champions League for the second time is as many months when the match between Club Africain of Tunisia and Al-Hilal of Sudan in Rades on Saturday was abandoned because of a pitch invasion.

The winners of these ties qualify for the group stage of the Champions League, while the losers drop into the Confederation Cup competition.

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