CAF Champions League

Esperance out to seal semifinal berth

Esperance of Tunisia eyeing semifinal spot. Photo | CAF Online
Esperance of Tunisia eyeing semifinal spot. Photo | CAF Online


Esperance de Tunis will be out to seal a semifinal berth in the CAF Champions League when they welcome JS Kabylie for a return-leg match at Stade Hammadi Agrebi in Tunis on the evening of Saturday.

The Tunisian side hold the advantage in this quarterfinal tie after securing a 1-0 away win in Algeria at the Stade du 5 Juillet last weekend.

Mohamed Ali Ben Hammouda struck the decisive goal early in the second half as the Blood and Gold put themselves within touching distance of the final four.

Esperance coach Nabil Maaloul spoke of his team’s need to play in the return leg as if they need to win the game outright and not sit on their lead, but added that they are prepared to adapt to any situation which arises and “play smart” if it is required.

JSK coach Miloud Hamdi, meanwhile, argued that his team “lost the match, it was not Esperance de Tunis who won it” but believes that they still have hope of turning the tie in their favour on Saturday night.

“If this team [Esperance] was beatable [in the first leg], it will also be in the return. We will not go there as victims, everything is playable. One-nil is a trap for the opponent, he will either try to keep the score or open the game... that's the high level, it is beneficial for the players. These matches should make us mature, progress, understand the work that remains to be done.”

DR Congo referee Jean Jacques Ndala Ngambo will take charge of the match in Tunis, with the aggregate winners set to face Egypt’s Al Ahly or Morocco’s Raja Casablanca in the semifinals next month.