Game of the week
CS Sfaxien 1–2 Vita Club
Vita's progress in the competition this year has been built very much on their strength at home, where they have won six out of seven games. Their away-form has been less impressive and they failed to secure a victory on the road in their first five matches. But when it mattered, they dug deep and their 1-0 win in Alexandria against Zamalek in their penultimate group game ensured their progress into the semi-finals. After beating Sfaxien 2-1 at home in the first leg, they faced a tough away match in Tunisia and again they rose to the occasion.
Sfaxien looked by far the stronger side in the first half and took the lead through Zied Derbali. Against the run of play the visitors equalised in first-half stoppage time through Issoufou Dayo. The home players never quite recovered from that shock and simply could not find the same form after the break. Ugandan international Yunus Sentamu added a second for Vita ten minutes after the restart and there was no coming back for Sfaxien, who became the first club in the history of the competition to have failed to turn around a 2-1 defeat from the away leg in the semi-final. The defeat also saw a parting of ways between the club and coach Philippe Troussier.
Algerian club ES Setif went into their return leg in Lubumbashi against TP Mazembe as the only unbeaten club in the competition and although they gave up that record, their 3-2 defeat was one they took on board as it was still enough to see them into the final. Abdelmalek Ziaya, who already scored for Setif in their 2-1 first-leg win, opened the scoring for the Algerians early on. Mazembe then turned things around as Daniel Adjei Nii, Salif Coulibaly and Jonathan Bolingi gave them a 3-1 lead, which would have been enough. However, Mazembe goalkeeper Robert Kidiaba, who already was at fault when Ziaya scored, allowed substitute Sofiane Younes' long range effort, which seemed more like a cross than a shot at goal, into the net. As Mazembe then failed to find a fourth, Setif advanced to the final on the away-goal rule.
Player of the week
The game between TP Mazembe and ES Setif can be described as a tale of two goalkeepers. Congo DR international Robert Kidiaba, who last weekend was in outstanding form to keep his side in the game at Setif, was out of form this time around, while his 25-year-old Algerian counterpart Sofiane Khedairia denied the Mazembe strikers time and again in Lubumbashi. The French-born goalkeeper, who played one league game for French club Le Mans, was the man of the match as ES Setif got the result they needed to qualify for their second-ever final.
24 – The number of years that Algerian football fans had to wait for one of their clubs to qualify for the final of the competition. The last time a club from the North African country played in the final was in 1990, when JS Kabylie beat Nkana Red Devils to win the title. Kabylie were the third Algerian club in a row to play in the final, with MC Oran being beaten by Raja Casablanca a year earlier. Setif beat Iwuanyanwu Nationale in 1988 for their previous title.
What they said
“We achieved something great in Sfax. We wanted to take the next step, so we had to go to the final. We made it more complicated by conceding a goal at home, but we complicated their lives with two goals,” Vita Club coach Florent Ibenge
Have your say
Will ES Setif or Vita Club add a second African Champions title to their name? Vita Club won the competition in 1973, while ES Setif are one of three Algerian clubs to have won the showpiece event of African club football.