Etoile look to make the most of home advantage

Etoile look to make the most of home advantage
Franck Kom of Etoile Du Sahel challenges Lehlogonolo Masalesa of Orlando Pirates during the CAF Confederations Cup Final 1st Leg match between Orlando Pirates and Etoile Du Sahel on 21 November 2015 at Orlando StadiumPic Sydney Mahlangu/ BackpagePix

by BackPageTXT

Wednesday Nov 25, 2015. 18:30

Etoile du Sahel will look to make the most of home advantage when they host Orlando Pirates for the second leg of the CAF Confederation Cup final on Sunday evening.

The match will be played at the Olympic Stadium in Sousse, with kick-off set for 20h30 CAT.

The first leg in Soweto this past weekend ended 1-1, with Thamsanqa Gabuza’s stunning goal cancelled out by a late equaliser from Etoile captain Ammar Jemal.

The away goal gives the Tunisians the edge heading into the decider on home soil, though they would do well not to underestimate a Pirates team which has been strong on the road in this competition, notably defeating Egyptian giants Al Ahly 4-3 in Suez last month.

Coach Faouzi Benzarti is expected to once again set out his team to play on the counter, knowing that they need only keep a clean sheet to secure the trophy.

Pirates, in contrast, have to score an away goal if they are to have any hope of winning their first Confederation Cup title and avoid another CAF club final defeat, having fallen to Al Ahly at the same stage of the 2013 Champions League.

Veteran Bucs defender Happy Jele believes his side will be able to take advantage if Etoile set out to defend.

"We still have another 90 minutes to play for,” said Jele. "For us it is important to go out there, play for the country and enjoy the game.

"The team will try to defend because they scored an away goal, and for us, we don’t have pressure. We have to enjoy the game and try to score goals.”

Pirates will receive a hostile reception in Sousse, with the highly partisan locals set to try and intimidate the visitors, while the obligatory green lasers (used by fans to try and distract opposition players) are also likely to make an appearance.

Kermit Erasmus, however, is adamant that Pirates won’t be bullied: "When you are on the field you are so focused that you don't even take notice of what is happening outside the field, the supporters making a noise or the lasers, yet it might put you off now and then, but if you are fully focused it shouldn't be a problem.

"I am sure once we lift the trophy, it will be quite scary scenes because we are in their backyard and celebrating will be pretty epic, we are looking forward to it - making sure we disappoint their fans and making ours proud."

In a further complication, Tunisia has been placed in a state of emergency following a terrorist attack in the capital Tunis on Tuesday. It is not known what effect – if any – this will have on the Confederation Cup final.

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