MC Alger were held to a 1-1 draw by visitors TP Mazembe in a 2018 CAF Champions League group stage match at at the Mustapha Tchaker Stadium in Blida on Saturday night.
The result leaves the DR Congo giants at the head of Group B on 10 points and they need only avoid defeats in their two remaining pool matches to secure a spot in the knockout stage.
Algeria’s MCA are well placed to join them, as they sit in second on five points, leaving compatriots ES Setif in third place on four points, while Morocco’s Difaa El Jadidi are last on two points.
Alger was the stronger team in the opening quarter and wasted a good chance through Ibrahim Amada, who was unable to get the better of Mazembe goalkeeper Sylvain Gbohouo.
The gloves-man made a crucial save to keep out a shot from Walid Derrardja just after the half-hour mark, though he was fortunate to see Mohamed Souibaa blast the rebound over from close range.
The DR Congo side offered little in attack through the first half, yet they needed just three minutes of the second to claim the lead, with Meschak Elia taking advantage of a major blunder from goalkeeper Farid Chaal.
Derrardja made up for his first-half miss by bringing Mouloudia level in the 70th minute with a superb header, as the hosts finally found a way past Gbohouo to make it 1-1 and set up a thrilling finale to the game.
The teams will return to CAF Champions League action on the weekend of August 17-19, with Mazembe away to ESS and MCA heading to Morocco to face Difaa El Jadidi.
MC Alger (0) 1 (Derrardja 70’)
TP Mazembe (0) 1 (Elia 48’)
MCA: Chaal, Demmou, Bouhenna, Mebarakou, Azzi, Dieng, Bendebka, Amada, Derrardja, Souibaa, Bourdim (Tebbi 64’)
Mazembe: Gbohouo, Mpeko, Chongo, Kimwaki, Kasusula, Sinkala, Kouame, Sissoko (Elia 46’), Likonza (Mputu 77’), Kalaba (Muleka 82’), Ngita