TP Mazembe got their Caf Champions League group stage campaign off to a flying start with a 2-0 win over Egyptian side Ismaily in Lumbumbashi on Saturday.
Veteran attacker Tresor Mputu turned provider for both TP Mazembe’s goals scored in the last seven minutes.
The Congolese giants defied their numerical disadvantage after playing the entire second half with 10-man following the sending off of Ivorian goalkeeper Sylvain Gbohou.
Mputu first set-up substitute Chico Ushindi who scored just a minute after coming onto the pitch and seven minutes from full time for Mazembe’s opening goal, before feeding Kevin Mondeko three minutes later as Pirates sealed the contest.
The victory saw Mazembe assume an early lead of Group C on superior goal difference above Algerian side Constantine.
Ismaily fielded new signings, Namibian international Benson Shilongo, Nigerian striker Odah Marshal and Mahmoud Donga, but the trio could not make any major difference for Egyptians against the five-time African champions.
In Group D match played at Alexandria's Borg El Arab Stadium, Al Ahly beat visiting 10-man Congolese giants AS Vita 2-0.
Although Vita had defender Dharles Kalonji sent off in the 21st minute in what appeared to be a dubious call by Tunisian referee Sadok Selmi, they remained persistent, threatening to upset the Egyptians in their own backyard.
Even after substitute, Nasser Maher opened the scoring for Al Ahly on 65 minutes, Vita kept on probing and looked likely to grab an equaliser.
But a controversial penalty converted in by Tunisian defender Ali Maalaoul 11 minutes from time appeared to have deflated the Congolese, who then went on to agonisingly lose the contest.
Elsewhere in Dar-es-Salaam, Simba recorded a big 3-0 victory over visiting Algerian side JS Saoura to take an early lead of Group D.
Uganda international Emmanuel Okwi grabbed Simba’s first goal on the brink of half-time, before setting-up Rwandan striker Meddie Kagere seven minutes after the restart after coming on from the bench.
Kagere was at hand to complete his brace later on in the 67th minute, again assisted by Okwi, and put the contest beyond the Algerians’ reach.
Fielding Thomas Ulimwengu, who faced his compatriots on Saturday, Saoura were always on the back-foot and will now have to pick themselves when they host second-placed Al Ahly next week.
The bright start by Simba saw them sending a statement of intent in this group which also includes heavyweights Al Ahly and AS Vita.