CAF Champions League title holders Esperance de Tunis have qualified for the final four of the 2018/19 edition after they defeated CS Constantine 3-1 at the Olympic Stadium in Rades on Saturday night.
The result saw the Tunisian giants secure a 6-3 aggregate victory over their Algerian rivals in the quarterfinals, with the Blood and Gold now set to face TP Mazembe over two legs in the penultimate round of the continental competition.
The match seemed evenly poised between the two teams but it was swung almost definitely in favour of Esperance in the space of four minutes just after the midway point of the half, as Saad Bguir provided two excellent finishes (on 23 and 27 minutes) to make it 2-0 in favour of the Tunisian giants.
It wasn’t all plain sailing for the Blood and Gold, who lost Mohamed Ali Yacoubi to injury a few minutes before half time. Franck Kom was sent on as a replacement, and the hosts saw out the remainder of the stanza to go to the break with the tie well under control.
Their comfortable domination was lost just after the hour mark when Constantine’s Dylan Bahamboula – who had been a threat through most of the game – finally converted a clear opportunity to bring his side back into the contest.
The Algerians began pressing for more openings and were hopeful of staging a comeback in the dying stages. However, on 86 minutes, Kom took advantage of some poor goalkeeping from Constantine’s Houssam Limane to make it 3-1 on the night and 6-3 on aggregate.
Esperance de Tunis (2) 3 (Bguir 23’ 27’, Kom 86’)
CS Constantine (0) 1 (Bahamboula 62’)
Esperance won 6-3 on aggregate
Esperance: Jridi, Meskini, Dhaouadi, Yaakoubi (Kom 38’), Ben Mohamed, Bguir (El Houni 58’), Coulibaly, Chaalali, Badri (Lokosa 67’), Belaili, Khenissi
Constantine: Limane, Benayada, Zaalani, Chahrour, Salhi (Aichi 57’), Yettou, Bencherifa, Hadded, Belkheir (Beldjilali 88’), Bahamboula, Djabout (Abid 64’)