Abdul Basit Khalid stepped off the bench to score the winner in the 73rd minute as Esperance came from a goal down to beat Total CAF Champions League debutants FC Teungueth 2-1 in their opening Group D match in Tunis on Saturday.
The Senegalese champions had gone ahead through Gambian Gibril Sillah, but Esperance equalized from the spot through skipper Taha Khennisi with Khalid scoring the winner in the second half.
The debutants got into the lead in the 32nd minute, scoring after sustaining a wave of attack from Esperance. Off a textbook counterattack, Pape Ousmane Sakho released Valere Paul Bassene on the left, the winger slapping a first time cross into the box that was tapped in by Sillah.
Prior to the goal, Esperance had dominated play and created the most chances, but lacked the killer instinct to get into the lead.
In the sixth minute, Teungueth keeper Baye Assane raced off his line to spread his body nicely on the ground to block an effort from Ala Marzouki. From the resultant corner, Anice Badri headed just wide.
Esperance continued dominating and in the 11th minute, Marzouki combined well with Hamdi Naguez on the flanks, but the right back’s cross was too strong, flying over everyone inside the box.
Teungueth keeper Cisse made another vital stop in the 19th minute to deny Marzouki after the midfielder was sent through by a delightful Badri through pass. Eight minutes later, skipper Khenissi had a chance with a header from Naguez’s cross, but his effort went over.
Against the run of play, the hosts were punished after losing the ball in the 32nd minute. But they kept fighting to get back into contention despite the Senegalese side now playing with more confidence.
Esperance got back on level terms two minutes to the break when Khenissi slotted home from the penalty spot after a clearance inside the box hit Pape Sow’s hand.
In the second half, the Tunisian champions sought to control the game, playing in Teungueth’s half as they sought to get into the lead and pick victory at home. They were rewarded in the 73rd minute when Khalid rose highest inside the box to nod home a cross from Mohamed Ali Ben Romdhane.
The visitors sought to find a response with Sakho striking a shot from the right after breaking into the box, but keeper Ben Moustapha collected the effort.