ES Setif Crowned African Champions for the second time
Setif were held to 1-1 draw by DR Congo outfit, AS Vita in the decisive encounter held at the Mustapha Tchaker Stadium in Blida, near Algiers, but went on to annex the title on away goals after a 3-3 tie.
The ‘Black Eagles’ as they are nicknamed become the first Algerian side since 1990 to lay their hands on the coveted prize in continental club football. And they had to wait for 26 years to return to the podium of champions after their previous triumph in 1988, when the competition was referred to as African Cup of Champion Clubs.
A 2-2 draw in the first leg held in Kinshasa last week put Setif in a good stead and they completed the task in front of their teeming fans, who painted every inch of space at the stadium either club’s Black and White colours and the Algerian flag.
Setif got off well taking control in the opening minutes before the Congolese bounced back around the quarter-hour mark. With no clear cut chance at goal, Guy Lusadisu’s long range shot that missed target five minutes before the break was the only best opportunity at goal.
Striker Mubele Ndome, who was deployed as a lone-man upfront gave the Setif defence so much to worry with his pacy runs from either side of the wings.
After a barren first half, the host deservingly went up four minutes after the interval through Younes Sofiane. A cross from the right by El Hedi Belamieri eluded three AS Vita defender before Sofiane tapped in from close range.
The lead lasted for only four minutes before Lema Mabidi restored parity, capitalizing on a poor clearance by the Setif defence, before unleashing one of his trademark thunderbolts that zoomed into the net. It was the third goal for the defensive midfielder in the two games.
Both sides enjoyed equal share of dominance for the remainder with AS Vita looking hungrier in attack.
On 70 minutes, a one-two between Toufik Zerara and Akram Djahnit forced a superb save off AS Vita goalie Nelson Lukong.
As the game wore on, AS Vita coach Florent Ibenge brought on Deogracia Kanda, a previous winner of the prestigious title with rivals, TP Mazembe four years ago for Lusadisu but his presence rarely impacted on their quest for the winning goal.
Setif held on to claim victory and the $1.5 million prize money as well as the ticket to represent Africa at the 2014 FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco in December.
The Black Eagles join rivals JS Kabylie, Asante Kotoko (Ghana), Esperance (Tunisia) and Enyimba (Nigeria) to have annexed the title on two occasions.
After the presentation of medals, CAF President assisted by Algerian Prime Minister, Abdelmalek Sellal presented the trophy to SEtif captain, Farid Mellouli amidst chants and cheers from the other members of the playing body and officials.