Zakaria Draoui and Amir Sayoud scored either side of half time as home side CR Belouizdad beat four-time champions Esperance 2-0 to earn an advantage in the quarter finals of the Total CAF Champions League.
Belouizdad, making their first Champions League appearance since 2002 showed superb mettle and determination at home to pick the victory and a clean sheet, heading into next weekend’s return tie in Rades.
Draoui opened the scoring in the 35th minute with a low sweeping shot after Selmi Housseyn did some good work with a daunting run on the right and a cut back which was swept home.
Esperance didn’t create much but came close when Mohamed Ali Ben Romdane saw his effort cleared off the line.
The Tunisians were more attack minded in the second half. Abdel Kader Bedrane had a chance in the 63rd minute with a glancing header which went wide. In the 75th minute, Khalid Abdul Basit should have struck them level when he was picked out by a well laid cutback from Ben Romdane, but he struck over the bar.
They were made to pay for that costly miss in the 82nd minute when Sayoud scored his eighth goal of the competition with a smart low finish after breaking through on goal off a Draoui flick.
The goal proved to be the game killer as Belouizdad held on, defending with utmost care to ensure they earned the precious victory.