African powerhouse Espérance de Tunis suffered a round of 16 exit in the CAF Champions League, after falling on away goals to Al Merreikh.
Defeated 1-0 in Khartoum in the first leg, the Tunisian giants only managed a 2-1 win in Radès on Sunday, to bow out of the prestigious tournament.
Carrying a one-goal deficit into the second leg, things got worse for Espérance when Ahmed Dufor put the visitors ahead after 14 minutes of play on a counter attack.
Left with the uphill task of scoring three goals with 75 minutes remaining, the ‘Blood and Gold’ failed to revive their hopes before the break with Haythem Jouini missing a couple of great chances in front of goal.
After hitting the cross-bar in the 56th minute, Espérance’s Cameroonian striker Yannick N’Djeng scored the equaliser in the 69th minute off a cross from Harrison Afful.
Defender Arbi Jabeur gave ultimately the locals the lead in stoppage time, which proved too little too late for the two-time African champions at the final whistle.
It is the first time since 2009 that Espérance will be missing out on the lucrative group stage of the continent’s foremost clubs competition.