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August 19, 2012

DR Congo’s TP Mazembe moved closer to clinching a spot in the semifinals of the CAF Champions League on Sunday after they beat Egypt’s Zamalek 2-1 behind closed doors at the Cairo Military Academy Stadium on Sunday.

Zambian defender Hichani Himonde opened the scoring for Mazembe on 34 minutes with a header on a Tresor Mputu Mabi corner only to see Benin striker Razak Omotoyossi equalize for Zamalek three minutes later.

On 44 minutes, Mbwana Ali Samatta scored the winner for the Crows with a header off a cross from Mputu Mabi. The Tanzanian forward has been nicknamed “Samagoal” by TP Mazembe’s fans because of his knack for scoring.

The win means Mazembe remain in second place in Group B with 7 points behind Egypt’s Al Ahly with 10 points. Chana’s Berekum Chelsea are third in the group after drawing 1-1 with Al Ahly earlier on Sunday at the Accra Stadium.

Five-time Champions League winners Zamalek, who are yet to win a game at the group stage, can no longer advance to the semifinals with only two games left to play.

Six-time Champions League winners Al Ahly, who are yet to lose a game in the group stage this year, are now assured of reaching the semifinals.

The two Egyptian clubs have had to play all their group stage games behind closed doors after the Egyptian Football Association imposed a banned fans from attending games because of the deadly violence that erupted between Al Ahly’s and rivals Al Masry’s fans earlier this year.

In Group A, defending champions Esperance de Tunis reached the semifinals after beating Etoile du Sahel 2-0 on Sunday in an all-Tunisian clash that was interrupted by a pitch invasion from fans from the losing team.

Sunshine of Nigeria beat ASO Chief of Algeria 2-1 on Friday to remain in second place in Group A ahead of Etoile du Sahel. Having won no games so far at the group stage, ASO Chief can no longer advance to the semifinals.

Four-time Champions League winners Mazembe will play Al Ahly in two weeks in Lubumbashi before heading to Ghana two weeks later for a crucial game against Berekum Chelsea that may decide which of the two teams will move to the last four.

The two teams on top of each group will qualify for the lucrative semifinals stage of the premier continental club competition with $2,800,000 to share.