Esperance look to seal semifinal berth

Esperance look to seal semifinal berth
Esperance de Tunis

by Graeme Jackson

Thursday Apr 11, 2019. 13:00

Esperance de Tunis will be confident of sealing a place in the final four of the CAF Champions League when they host CS Constantine on Saturday 13 April 2019 for the return leg of their quarterfinal.

The match is slated for the Olympic Stadium in Rades, with kick-off at 21h00 CAT.

The first leg at Stade Mohamed Hamlaoui in Algeria last weekend ended in a 3-2 victory for the Tunisian visitors, with goals from Youcef Belaili, Fousseny Coulibaly and Mohamed Ali Yacoubi for the ‘Blood and Gold’. Constantine’s strikes came from Adil Djabout and Nassim Yettou.

Esperance manager Moine Chaabani will look to guide his team into the semifinals as they continue the defence of the continental crown they won at the back end of 2018.

Overturning a deficit away from home is an incredibly difficult task, but Constantine manager Denis Lavagne has urged his team to take inspiration from Manchester United and Ajax, who achieved exactly that feat in the UEFA Champions League last month.

“I would say that the experience of Esperance’s players made the difference. As for our chances of qualification, everything is possible and we must not lose confidence,” Lavagne explained.

“PSG won in Manchester, but Manchester United overturned in Paris and qualified. This was the case with Ajax Amsterdam, who went to Madrid for qualification against Real Madrid.

"We are not Ajax or Manchester United, but in football everything is possible, even if we know that our mission will be difficult. I hope to recover the injured players and we will go to Rades to win and qualify for the last four.”

The match in Rades will be handled by Moroccan referee Noureddine El Jaafari. The aggregate winners of the tie will advance into the semifinals to face either Simba SC (Tanzania) or TP Mazembe (DR Congo).

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