Since October 17, Mazembe and Bejaia have already faced three times, with a slight advantage to the Congolese who won the meeting in Lubumbashi thanks to the masterstroke of Zambia-importt Rainford Kalaba.
As at now, Mazembe has hosted five matches at the favourite grounds, winning four and one stalemate with eight goals for and two against.
Bejaia on the other hand have an away record of three draws and two losses with four goals conceded. Clearly, the statistics makes the encounter one too close to call.
The strength of Mazembe has been their armoury of foreign players from Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Tanzania and Zambia, who have completed the efforts of the indigenes. For Bejaia, their biggest joy is the fact that goalkeeper Chemseddine Rahmani has been named in the Algerian squad by new coach Georges Leekens for next week’s 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Nigeria away in Uyo.
Kalaba, whose six goals has been crucial to ‘Les Corbeaux’s journey to the decisive match, has declared that the only word on his lips and that of his colleagues is “the trophy”.
“We are a united group and always work hard to win. Winning is the only word on our lips,” said the Mazembe talisman, who believes the Algerians cannot be underrated.
At stake for the winner is a $660,000 prize money and the right to face the winner of the CAF Champions League, Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa in next year’s CAF Super Cup.