Caf Champions League: TP Mazembe 1-1 AmaZulu FC (1-1 agg) - Usuthu seal historic group stage spot
Tandi Mwape, TP Mazembe & Bonginkosi Ntuli, AmaZulu FC, October 2021
The tournament debutants progressed after showing resilience and courage against one of the biggest clubs in African football

AmaZulu FC advanced to the Caf Champions League group stage for the first time after defeating Tout Puissant Mazembe on the away goals rule following a 1-1 draw on Saturday afternoon.

Bonginkosi Ntuli's first-half strike proved to be the decisive goal as he made it three goals in this season's Champions League, while Adam Bossu levelled matters for the DR Congolese champions at Stade du TP Mazembe in Lubumbashi, DR Congo. 

With his side having held Mazembe to a 0-0 draw in the first-leg encounter in Durban last week Friday, AmaZulu coach Benni McCarthy adopted a cautious approach as he named Ntuli as a lone striker - starting ahead of five midfielders including Keagan Buchanan. 

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McCarthy's counterparts, Franck Dumas, named Jean Baleke and Philippe Kinzumbi as his two strikers with the Ravens looking to avoid an upset against AmaZulu and reach the group stage for the fifth year running, having won the Champions League title five times.

AmaZulu were under siege from the first minute with Mazembe searching for an early goal in order to unsettle the Usuthu defence and Veli Mothwa was a busy man between the sticks for the visitors with the Bafana Bafana goalkeeper determined to keep the hosts at bay.

Mothwa produced a fantastic save to deny Soze Zemanga after the visitors' defence was exposed, before he picked up an injury after colliding with Baleke, but McCarthy and his technical team were relieved to see the club's first-choice keeper give a thumbs up to signal that all is well.

Usuthu were awarded a free-kick in a promising area after a rare attack by the PSL side and Buchanan's effort from the set-piece was parried into Ntuli's path by keeper Ibrahim Mounkoro, and the bulky marksman scored with a low shot to hand AmaZulu a 1-0 lead in the 37th minute.

The Ravens had a chance to level matters just before half-time, but Mothwa pulled off a magnificent diving save to deny Arsene Zola and the score was AmaZulu leading 1-0 at the interval.

Former Orlando Pirates target Rainford Kalaba and Etienne Mayombo were introduced by Dumas prior to the start of the second-half, but McCarthy's charges didn't sit back and defend their slender as they surged forward and caused problems for the Ravens' defence.

Luvuyo Memela proved to be a constant thorn in the side of the Mazembe defence as his shot-come-cross from the left was cleared from the goal-line by Tandi Mwape, before the 34-year-old playmaker hit the upright after he had dribbled past his marker on the edge of the hosts' box.

The momentum was with the Ravens in the closing stages of the match and they equalised in stoppage time when Bossu turned brilliantly in the visitors' box, before firing past Mothwa, but the goal proved to be a consolation for Mazembe as the match ended in a 1-1 draw.

Therefore, it was AmaZulu who progressed to the group stage for the first time in the club's history after winning the tie on the away goals rule following a 1-1 draw on aggregate and they will now face Sekhukhune United in a PSL match on Wednesday.

Mazembe, meanwhile, will play in the Confederations Cup playoff round.