Esperance Sportive de Tunis player Fousseny Coulibaly (L) and KCCA FC player Gift Abubakar (R) fight for the ball during the CAF Champions League soccer match
Saturday Sep 15, 2018. 23:12
Esperance de Tunis fought hard to beat Etoile du Sahel 2-1 in the 2018 CAF Champions League quarterfinal first-leg match at the Stade Olympique de Radès in Tunisia on Saturday night.
Tunisian champions Esperance will head into the second-leg encounter leading on aggregate against Etoile next weekend.
The Blood and Gold were keen to grab a first-leg advantage when they locked horns with the Red and White at home.
It took only two minutes for the home side to break the deadlock through Chamseddine Dhaouadi.
The 31-year-old striker beat Etoile goalkeeper Achraf Krir to make it 1-0 to Esperance, much to the delight of the home ground.
However, Etoile looked dangerous when they pushed forward as they aimed to level matters against their Tunisian rivals.
Parity was restored a minute before the hour-mark after the Blood and Gold defence was exposed.
Firas Belarbi set-up veteran defender Ammar Jemal, who hit the back of the net to make it 1-1 for Etoile.
The hosts tried to respond with a goal, with deadly forward Taha Yassine Khenissi leading Esperance's attack.
However, Etoile were able to contain Esperance until Ethiopian match referee Bamlak Tessema Weyesa blew the half-time whistle.
Esperance and Etoile were locked at 1-1 during the half-time break.
Ghilane Chalali was introduced by the Esperance in the second-half as the hosts looked to restore their lead.
However, Etoile, who had grabbed an important away goal, worked hard in defence with home side piling pressure on them.
The Blood and Gold did restore their lead through experienced defender Sameh Derbali with 13 minutes left on the clock.
The former Olympique Beja player beat Krir with a decent finish to make it 2-1 to Esperance, who had to defend well in the remaining minutes of the game.
Esperance stood firm at the back in the closing stages of the encounter and ultimately, they ran out 2-1 winners on the night.
Esperance (1) 2 (Dhaouadi 2', Derbali 77')
Etoile (1) 1 (Jemal 29')
Esperance: Jridi, Derbali, Chemmam, Dhaouadi, Kom, Ben Mohamed, Bguir (Mejri 42'), Coulibaly (Chalali 62'), Belaïli (Jouini 89'), Badri, Khenissi.
Etoile: Krir, Jemal, Bedoui, Brigu, Boughattas, Aouadhi, Trabelsi, Ben Amor, Belarbi (Msakni 81'), Chermiti (Amr Marei 70'), Hannachi.