ABU DHABI - African champions TP Mazembe
scaled the heights to upset Mexico's Pachuca 1-0 in their Club
World Cup quarter-final on Friday.
The team from DR Congo, who scored in the 21st minute
through midfielder Mbenza Bedi, will have an even steeper climb
next Tuesday when they meet Internacional of Brazil.
"Each time you pass a peak, the mountain becomes higher,"
Mazembe's Senegalese coach Lamine N'Diaye told the post-match
"So, to use a cycling term, this was a first category col.
Now we're going to attack a major climb," he said.
"They are a dimension above," he added of Internacional,
winners of South America's Libertadores Cup and favourites to
reach a final against Inter Milan.
Mazembe played with 10 men for the last nine minutes after
their Zambian midfielder Stoppila Sunzu was sent off for a
second yellow card offence.
Pachuca's Argentine coach Pablo Marini said his team had
dominated for at least an hour but failed to put away their many
Asked if the result was a 'disaster' for Pachuca, Marini
said: "Obviously, yes. We knew about Mazembe's strengths but we
didn't expect to lose.
"I think the way the match went, we shouldn't have lost.
But, unfortunately, we made a mistake with the goal and did not
have the calm to put away our chances."
Mazembe goalkeeper Muteba Kidiaba, who knelt and prayed on
his line before the start of each half, led a charmed life as
Pachuca threw everything into attack.
The African side had three more players, including Bedi,
booked as they clung desperately to their lead and, but for some
wayward finishing, they might have made the win secure in
several second-half counter-attacks.
N'Diaye had no complaints with Japanese referee Yuichi
Nishimura, saying: "The cards were well deserved, (the players)
were late (in their challenge) to the ball."
The match ultimately hung on a spell of less than two
minutes midway through the first half.
Concacaf champions Pachuca almost took the lead in the 19th
minute when Argentine midfielder Alejandro Manso's shot from
outside the box on the left hit the inside of the far post and
crossed the front of goal before spinning out.
In the Congolese side's next attack, Bedi ran into the box
on the right onto a fine through ball from forward Mulota
Kabangu to beat Colombian goalkeeper Miguel Calero at the near
post for the winner.
It was Mazembe's first victory in two appearances in the
competition having lost twice in Abu Dhabi a year ago.
Pachuca, in their third appearance in the competition but
with only one win in five matches, will play for fifth place
against the losers of Saturday's quarter-final.
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