Caf Confederation Cup: RS Berkane thrash 10-man TP Mazembe to set up Orlando Pirates final
The North African side will now take on South African giants after sending Congolese side packing in ruthless fashion
Moroccan side RS Berkane will face South African giants Orlando Pirates in the final of the Caf Confederation Cup after thrashing 10-man TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo 4-1 in the semi-final second leg at Stade Municipal de Berkane on Sunday.
Berkane were unfazed by Mazembe’s pedigree and 1-0 first-leg advantage as they tied the contest in the 11th minute when Bakr El Helali opened the scoring.
However, their lead lasted just seconds, Phillippe Kinzumbi replying for Mazembe less than a minute later to give the visitors a 2-1 aggregate lead.
Mazembe then slowed the game down with a number of on-field theatrics that won them numerous fouls as Berkane searched for a goal.
It is those theatrics that proved their downfall, however, as Zambian international Tandi Mwape was sent off in the 64th minute after receiving two quick yellow cards for dissent following an altercation with the referee.
Berkane took full advantage with Moroccan Najji Larbi volleying in a second before compatriot Youssef El Fahli extended the lead on the night via the penalty spot following a goal-mouth melee that resulted in a foul in the Mazembe box.
With the turnaround complete and the result nearly assured, confusion in the Mazembe defence saw goalkeeper Baggio Siadi come off his line to clear a ball but missed it with El Fahli latching onto it to walk the ball into an empty net and send his side into a third final in four years.
Berkane have had a great run in the Confederation Cup in recent years, reaching the 2019 and 2020 finals, losing the former before winning the latter, and now have a chance to lift their second continental trophy.
They will take on Pirates at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo, Nigeria on May 20 after the Soweto giants made it to their maiden Confederation Cup final despite losing 1-0 to Al Ahly Tripoli of Libya in the other semi-final second leg at Orlando Stadium on Sunday.
The Buccaneers had won 2-0 in the first leg away in Tripoli and carried the advantage to the return leg contest at home but they could not add to their tally as Al Ahly defender Ali Abu Arqoub scored in the last minute for the visitors after it had looked like the game would end goalless.
Pirates, who won the contest 2-1 on aggregate, now have a chance to end the season with silverware after failing to mount a title challenge at home where Mamelodi Sundowns proved a cut above the rest once more.
Their only continental title came in 1995 when they won the Caf Champions League. Pirates have endured disappointments ever since, losing finals in 2013 (Champions League) and 2015 (Confederation Cup).