Debutants Berekum Chelsea made an electric start to their CAF Champions League campaign by stunning Zamalek 3-2 in Accra thanks to Emmanuel Clottey’s hat-trick.
Clottey’s effort means the 24-year-old has extended his lead as the competition’s top scorer to nine goals.
The 2010 Ghanaian champions had to do that the hard way by twice rallying from behind in the match played at the Accra Sports Stadium.
Zamalek striker Abdoulaye Cise Cise was a thorn in the flesh of the inexperienced Chelsea back line marshalled by Edward Kpodo and youngster Ahmed Adams.
He capitalized on a defensive blunder from Kpodo and Owusu Jackson to scoop the ball past goalkeeper Ernest Sowah in the 21st minute for the opener.
Chelsea did not relent as they still dominated possession and burrowed the Zamalek defence but could not find the back of the net.
The stadium however came alive when in-form striker Clottey finally drew parity in the 29th minute after two of his earlier efforts had smashed the cross bar.
Jordan Opoku laid a razor pass to pocket-size midfielder Solomon Asante, who delivered a tailor –measured cross for Clottey to head home beautifully for the equalizer.
The celebration lasted for only five minutes as Cisse once again scored from a header after a poor Chelsea defence failed to deal with an innocuous challenge.
Zamalek went into the break 2-1 up but heads were not down for Chelsea.
The home side started the second half in a confident mood with some sublime and eye-catching inter-positional displays.
Two minutes later, Clottey gave the Blues smiles with the equalizer after he rounded up goalkeeper Abdel-Wahed El-Sayed to make it 2-2.
The Ghanaian side kept on with the pressure but Zamalek nearly prevailed with their level of experience.
Substitute Nour el Sayed blasted from far and but goalkeeper Sowah parried away for corner kick.
Sowah was forced to make two of such saves to keep the score line at 2-2.
Both teams exhausted their substitution with Chelsea bringing on striker Musa Mohammed, Joseph Ato Bissah and Ibrahim Issaka.
Zamalek brought on experienced Amr Zaki as they lacked firepower upfront with goal scorer Abdoulaye Cise Cise injured at half-time.
At the death, Clottey tapped in from close range to seal a hat-trick after substitute Ibrahim Issaka had done the damage from the right-flank.
Chelsea’s next assignment will be against TP Mazembe on July 21.