In victory, Mazembe ‘worked hard’ on defense

Hatem Maher, Saturday 11 Dec 2010

Mazembe reaped the rewards of solid defending as they reach the FIFA Club World Cup semi finals, midfielder Mbenza Bedi said after scoring the winner against Mexico’s Pachuca on Thursday

Mazembe reach Club World Cup semis

The African Champions League winners Mazembe claimed an upset 1-0 victory over Pachuca to book a place in the FIFA Club World Cup's last-four, setting up a meeting with Internacional of Brazil.

Bedi was the team hero after notching the decisive goal midway through the first half. He ran onto a ball from Mulota Kabangu before slotting home from a tight angle.

Mazembe's Zambian midfielder Stoppila Sunzu was dismissed nine minutes from time for a second bookable offense but the team held on with ten men to secure their first Club World Cup win, having lost twice in last year’s edition in Abu Dhabi.

Credit went to Bedi for helping the Congolese side overcome Pachuca but he believes the team’s tight defense played the biggest role in the much-needed victory.

“We’re not a defensive team but a team that defends well. There’s a difference,” the 26-year-old told

“Attacking comes more instinctively than defending. Defending is something you have to work on harder. But we’ve done that and it’s paid off for us.”

Mazembe will have a chance to make history when they face 2006 Club World Cup winners Internacional on Tuesday.

A win over the Brazilians will help Mazembe become the first African team to qualify for the tournament’s final. Egyptian giants Ahly finished third in the 2006 edition after losing to Internacional in the same stage.

“They’re a great team from a great footballing country,” Bedi said of Internacional and Brazil.

“But we’re relaxed and determined because we know we’re a big club too. We respect our rivals, but we’ll be doing our utmost to beat them.”

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