Esperance de Tunis and TP Mazembe will renew their rivalry when they meet in the first leg of the CAF Champions League tomorrow.
Kick-off at the Olympic Stadium in Rades is set for 5:00 p.m local time.
Esperance, the competition’s title holders, proved their class in the previous round when they ousted Algeria’s CS Constantine 6-3 on aggregate, with Youcef Belaili, Fousseny Coulibaly, Mohamed Ali Yacoubi, Saad Bguir (two) and Franck Kom sharing the six goals between them to underline the Tunisian side’s depth and versatility in attack.
Blood and Gold coach Moine Chaabani is looking to guide his team to back-to-back African titles, and they would become the first team to win successive Champions League tournaments since Al Ahly in 2012 and 2013.
TP Mazembe, however, represents formidable opponents. The DR Congo giants looked to be in real danger in the quarterfinals when they were held 0-0 in Tanzania by Simba SC and then found themselves 1-0 down early in the return game in Lubumbashi.
However, the Ravens soon clicked into top gear and goals from Kabaso Chongo, Meschak Elia, Tresor Mputu and Jackson Muleka saw them triumph 4-1 on the day and overall.
Esperance and Mazembe have some significant history against one another in this competition, with the DR Congo side famously crushing their Tunisian counterparts 6-1 on aggregate in the final of the 2010 edition (sic).
However, the Blood and Gold took revenge two years later in the semifinals when they won 1-0 on aggregate over two legs. Expect a heated battle between these rivals.
Gambian referee Bakary Gassama will take charge of the match in Rades, while the return leg is scheduled for next Saturday at the TP Mazembe Stadium in Lubumbashi.
The aggregate winners will face either South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns or Moroccan club Wydad Casablanca in the final late next month.