Classic Clottey’s brace save Chelsea
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. The second half belonged to Berekum Chelsea as they dominated Mazembe in the midfield game.
The pressure from the Ghanaian team forced their opponents to sometimes get physical, Chelsea got the reprieve when the side was awarded a well deserved penalty after goalkeeper Robert Kidiaba brought down leading marksman Clottey. Striker Emmanuel Clottey stepped up to score a classic goal form the spot.
The goal spurred Chelsea on, as they turned on the game with their opponents back-pedaling. 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. Clottey pulled the chestnut out of the blazing fire with an audacious shot just outside the 18-yard box, which silenced the whole stadium.
The brace from Clottey was reminiscent of the way he inspired Chelsea to a 3-2 win against Zamalek with an impressive hat-trick – his second in the competition. He has now taken his tally to eleven goals after eight matches.
The Ghana striker has been in spectacular form in the club competition, as he carries Berekum Chelsea’s ambitions in the group stage of the competition. Clottey is leading the goal-scoring chart and is driving Chelsea’s progress in their debut in the continent’s most prestigious club competition.
And his quality is never been lost on Chelsea coach Hans Van der Plyum: “Clottey does not need so many chances, when he gets a chance he will take it. He is always relaxed in front of goal and that is important for us,” Van der Plyum said.
With the record number of goals scored by an individual in a Champions League campaign standing at 13 and accomplished in 2008 by Stephen Worgu for Enyimba, Chelsea’s in-form Clottey could finish the competition setting a new record.
Chelsea have now put themselves in a pole position to cause an upset in their debut appearance in Africa’s elite inter-club competition.
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