Blood and Gold look to avoid early exit

Blood and Gold look to avoid early exit
ES Tunis player Mohamed Ali (L) in action against Zamalek player Mohamed Adel Shafi (R) during the CAF Champions League

by Graeme Jackson

Friday Mar 06, 2020. 09:00

CAF Champions League title holders Esperance de Tunis will look to avoid an early exit when they host Zamalek for the return leg of their quarterfinal tie on Friday night. Kick-off at the Olympic Stadium in Rades will be at 21:00 CAT.

The first leg in Cairo last weekend saw Zamalek claim a 3-1 victory, thanks to goals from Mohamed Ounajem, Achraf Bencharki and Mahmoud Alaa, while Esperance’s consolation was netted by Raouf Benguit.

It’s the second time the White Knights have gotten the better of the Blood and Gold, having beaten them by the same score in the CAF Super Cup last month in Doha.

“It’s good that we scored three goals before we go into the second leg. We believe we can qualify for the semifinals but a historical game in Rades awaits us,” warned Zamalek coach Patrice Carteron, who is taking nothing for granted ahead of a clash with a team which has won the last two editions of the Champions League.

Esperance, meanwhile, will be without both coach Mouine Chaabani and his assistant Mejdi Traoui after both were hit with suspensions and fines by CAF for their behaviour toward Moroccan referee Redouane Jiyed, who sent off Mohamed Ben Romdhane in the first leg.

Romdhane will be missing, as will Khalil Chamam and Benguit – the latter pair have also been fined and suspended by CAF.

The odds are stacked against the Tunisian team, but an away goal in the first leg and the prospect of an intimidating home atmosphere gives them a chance at turning around the tie.

Algerian referee Mustapha Ghorbal will take charge of the match in Rades on Friday night. The overall winner will advance to face either Raja Casablanca or TP Mazembe in the semifinals.

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