CAF Champions League continues this weekend with day three matches. Esperance of Tunisia will play Zamalek SC home this Saturday before playing them again away in two weeks.
Matches of the Round
Day 1: Amine Tougai late goal sails Esperance over Al Merrikh
Mohamed Amine Tougai scored at the death as Tunisian giants Esperance edged out Sudan’s El Merrikh 1-0 at the Olympic Stadium in [Rades], starting their TotalEnergies CAF Champions League Group D action with victory.
The win sees Taraji move joint top with Algeria’s CR Belouizdad who began their campaign with a similar victory over Egypt’s Zamalek in Cairo on Friday.
Esperance knew they had to start strong in what is considered as the group of death in the competition and they had an early chance with Anice Badri shooting wide. Ali Bin Ramadan also had an effort fly over.
Al Merrikh were patient in their attack and they landed their first chance eight minutes to the break but Brazilian Mathos Bosa saw his shot saved by keeper Moez Bin Sharifia.
At the tail end of the first half, Badri had another close chance, but he saw it go begging.
Esperance got off the second half with as much pace and they were denied by the post in the 53rd minute when Mohamed El Houni’s shot beat the keeper but came off the woodwork.
Esperance continued to pile the pressure with Badri especially being a thorn in the flesh for Al Merrikh. With seven minutes added on, the home side knew they needed to push for a winner.
And they did so in the 94th minute when Tougai pounced on a rebound after the Merrikh keeper had spilled the ball, planting it into the net for the vital goal.
Esperance will now quickly shift their attention to the next duel when they travel away to Algeria to face Belouizdad in a top of the table clash while Merrikh will be at home against Zamalek.
By: CAF Online
Day 2: Elhouni scorcher breaks Belouizdad hearts in Algiers
Hamdou Elhouni’s brilliant strike nine minutes to time was the difference as Esperance stormed to the apex of Group D in the TotalEnergies CAF Champions League with a 1-0 victory away to CR Belouizdad in Algiers.
The hosts dominated the game, had the most chances, but were caught off against the run of play, as Taraji made it two wins in two matches to sit pretty with a maximum haul of six points in two games.
Esperance had played second fiddle to the Algerians for most of the game, but they made the most of their best chance of the game when it came their way.
Against the run of play, Elhouni picked the ball from distance and took a shot that flew straight into the top left corner of Alexis Guendouz’s goal. Just two minutes before that, the warning bells had rung for Belouizdad when Mohammed Ali ben Hammouda had broken through on goal but Guendouz made a neat save one on one.
Belouizdad had the best chances in the game though. In the first half, Sofiane Bouchar had an effort cleared off the line as he scrambled a volley on target from a corner. In the 34th minute, Anayo Iwuala danced his way into the box but his rasping shot was brilliantly saved by the keeper.
In the second half, they had a close opportunity five minutes after the restart when Zakaria Draoui was denied by the crossbar with a sweetly struck shot inside the box while Akram Bouras volleyed the rebound over.
Iwuala should have given them the lead in the 70th minute when Esperance keeper Moez Ben Cherifia came off his line and missed a clearance, but the Nigerian’s effort at goal was turned away for a corner inches from the goalline.
For all their missed opportunities, Belouizdad were punished with a late goal.
They remain second in the group and will play away to Al Marreikh next weekend while Esperance will be at home against Zamalek.
By: CAF Online
Group D Standings after Day 2
Group D Day 3 Schedule
Al Merrikh SC - CR Belouizdad
Espérance ST - Zamalek SC