Sports News of Sunday, 22 July 2012
Berekum Chelsea rallied from two goals down to record a priceless 2-2 draw against TP Mazembe in the second group game of the CAF Champions League, thanks to a brace from hot-shot Emmanuel Clottey.
The Ghanaians looked a pale shadow of themselves in the first half as they struggled to adapt to the astro turf at Mazembe.
Chelsea captain Abdul Basit who returned to the side after he missed the opening group game against Zamalek was unsually quite on the day as struggled to break down the midfield set-up of his opponent as the heart of the Ghanaians looked increasinghly rugged and frustrated.
Dangerman Mputu capitalized on the defensive frailties of the Blues and slotted home the winner from 15 yards to the send the stadium agog.
Chelsea’s uncertainty was partly explained by their late arrival, but the flaws were swifty exposed by the manner in which the home side took the lead.
Kalaba’s lofted pass was inventive but Chelsea’s failure to react was ominous for what lay ahead, allowing the un-rushing Mputu to curve home the opener at the right foot corner.
Midfielder Rainford Kalaba could have doubled the lead after his effort hit the lower bar to deny the host the advantage.
South African referee Daniel Benneth awarded a penalty to Mazembe after defender Edward Kpoko was adjuged to have fouled Mputu.
The impressive enforcer stepped up and scored from the rebound after goalkeeper Ernest Sowah had catched his early effort.
The Ghanaians came into the second half with a renewed spirit as they took their destiny into their owns hands by putting up an amazing performance that got Mazembe coach Lamine Ndiaye scratching his head for answers.
Solomon Asante came close to score with a low grounder but it went wide in the 50th minute to the relief of the home fans.
Chelsea got the reprive when the side was awarded with a deserved penalty after goalkeeper Robert Kidiaba brought down leading marksman Emmanuel Clottey who went ahead to score brilliantly to reduce the deficit.
The 2010 Ghanaian champions continued to probe for the equalizer and once again Clottey was on hand to deliver another masterpiece with a superb individual brilliance late on in the second half to hand the West African side a priceless draw.
Chelsea have now put themselves in a pole position to cause an upset in their debut appearance in Africa’s elite inter-club competition.
They lead the group with 4 points ahead of Zamalek’s game against perennial rivals Al Alhy later on Sunday in the other group A game.