TP Mazembe’s dreams of another final are extinguished

TP Mazembe’s dreams of reaching another Club World Cup final were quickly extinguished when the African champions lost 3-0 to Japan’s Sanfrecce Hiroshima in their quarter-final on Sunday.

Tsukasa Shiotani and Kazuhiko Chiba both scored following corners and Takuma Asano added the third as Hiroshima, who qualified as champions of the host nation Japan, earned a tie against South American champions River Plate on Wednesday.

Five-times African champions Mazembe made history on their last appearance in the tournament five years ago when they eliminated Brazilian side Internacional to reach the final where they lost to Rafael Benitez’s Inter Milan.

The team from Democratic Republic of Congo, fielding players from Ivory Coast, Mali, Zambia, Tanzania, Ghana and only one from their own country, made a bright start, weaving some neat passing patterns in midfield, and they had an early chance to get ahead.

Mbwana Samatta got clean away from the defence but dallied over his shot and gave Chiba time to scramble back and tackle.

Shiotani broke the deadlock from close range in the 44rd minute when Mazembe got into an awful mess at a corner, leaving him with an easy job to tap into the net.

Mazembe were again lively after halftime and substitute Thomas Ulimwengu fired a low shot just wide after breaking from inside his own half.

The team known as “The Almighty” again got it wrong at a corner, however, allowing Chiba to easily outjump his marker and head in the second from another corner just before the hour

There was no way back after that and Asano completed the scoring when he headed home to finish off a counter-attack in the 78th minute.