At the end of 90 minutes, nothing could separate North African rivals ES Setif and Esperance du Tunis as the two played to a 0-0 draw in the first leg of the TotalEnergies CAF Champions League quarter final in Algiers on Friday night.
There were chances on either side, but none of the two was clinical enough as the two take the fight for a place in the semis to Rades next weekend.
A rocking Stade 5 Juillet with fans coming through in their numbers offered Setif a perfect backbone to charge for a win, but they couldn’t make the most of their home advantage with the visitors grabbing a vital draw.
On the balance of chances, Esperance would feel dejected heading to the tunnel for the halftime break level at 0-0. Three crucial saves from Setif keeper Sofiane Khedairia and a freekick striking the bar were the highlights of an eventful half for the visitors.
They had their first opportunity in the 10th minute when Mohamed Ali Ben Romdhane was sent through on goal by Kingsley Eduwo, but the midfielder’s shot was saved by the keeper.
Immediately on the other end Setif looked to make a response and they had an opportunity when Ferhani Ouari slid Abdelrahim Deghmoum though on goal but is shot was deflected for a corner.
Eduwo then had a chance for himself in the 28th minute when he somehow found a way through a forest of legs at the edge of the box before storming into the box, but his inner foot shot was well saved one on one with the keeper.
Eight minutes to time, Esperance had another glorious chance off a freekick from range but Ghaylen Chaleli saw his curling effort come off the bar. Rael El Fadaa picked the rebound, but keeper Khedairia made another superb block.
It was a similar case in the second half as the two sides had chances. The best came for Esperance at the death when CHaleli saw his low shot from distance kept out by the impressive keeper.
What they said
Radi Jaidi (ES Tunis Coach):
“It was a pleasant match between two teams who played very good football. We lacked offensive efficiency. The last touch made the difference. We missed several chances especially in the first half. We missed several chances and we must correct our errors for the return match to ensure our qualification for the semi-finals”.
Reda Bendriss (ES Setif Coach):
“We missed the victory against a good team from the Esperance. The sequence of matches left its mark on the physical form of the players but we still ensured at least a draw before the return leg. This is certainly my last game at the head of the technical bar of the ESS since the leaders have recruited a new coach."