x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

A victory for Africa say matchwinners after piece of history is made

"The 2-0 score at the end was a bit of a surprise for us," say the goal-scorers as they admit their semi-final win over Internacional is also a big day for African football.

ABU DHABI // TP Mazembe created a piece of history by becoming the first club outside Europe and South America to reach the Club World Cup final and the two goalscorers have hailed it as a huge step for African football.

"We were not expected to go beyond the semi-finals when we arrived here in Abu Dhabi and that belief doesn't exist anymore," said Dioko Kaluyituka, who sealed the match with a second goal in the Congolese club's stunning 2-0 win over Internacional of Brazil last night.

"This win is not only for the club but for the whole of Africa.

"This is the next best thing to happen to the continent's football after South Africa hosted the World Cup.

"It is a big moment for us and for African football."

Mulota Kabangu, who gave TP Mazembe the vital lead in the 53rd minute, also had similar thoughts after the win at Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium.

"This result was reward for the hard work of the players, the coach and the club management," he said. "We came here to play good football and never thought we would go this far. The 2-0 score at the end was a bit of a surprise for us.

"What we did was to have the opposition marked man-to-man and not to leave any space for them to manoeuvre. It is not easy to hold a side like Internacional for 90 minutes but, in the end, our game plan worked. They did have some chances but fortunately for us, they couldn't score.

"It has been a wonderful journey so far for us and now that we are in the final, we will surely try to go all the way and win this championship."

apassela@thenational.ae