Esperance were able to subdue Orlando Pirates of South Africa after a 2-0 victory in their Group B Day Four clash at El Menzah, Tunis, Tuesday.
Esperance goals were from Anice Badri just 16 minutes into the game and Haythem Jouini at the death.
The empty stands due to a closed door sanction on the holders didn’t deter Esperance from putting up a fight at home.
Around the quarter-hour mark, Youcef Belaili struck a cleverly executed free-kick which outwitted the Buccaneers backline, found Badri who managed to break the deadlock.
Four minutes before the break, Badri put Ghilane Chaalali, but the latter failed at doubling the lead.
Pirates coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic introduced Thamsanqa Aubrey Gabuza for Paseka Mako at the start of the second half, as he varied his options upfront.
Ten minutes after recess, Pirates Goalkeeper, Wayne Sandilands graciously saved Taha Yassine Khenissi’s shot from short distance.
Few minutes after coming on, Justin Shonga nearly tied the score for the pirates in the 65th minute but his shot went far.
At brink of full time, Anice Badri passed the ball to Jouini who scored the second to seal victory and push Esperance to the top of Group B.
Moine Chaabani (Head coach, Esperance de Tunis)
These three points are very important to us. I believe this is the most significant victory in the Group stage for us. We tied in our away game against our main opponents, Orlando Pirates and today we triumphed. Orlando pirates are an excellent team. They have excellent players who are very technically gifted. We were well prepared for the game despite having wasted many opportunities, we gave our best and we’re thankful for the very important three points.
Sameh Derbali (Defender, Esperance de Tunis)
We are thankful for fulfilling our task today. It was an important victory against a worthy opponent and our main competitors, Orlando Pirates. The good thing is that we won and created many opportunities. The bad thing is that we failed to convert many attempts as well. Hopefully, next time we’ll be more successful and be able to seal the deal earlier throughout the game.