Esperance face uphill battle against Al Ahly

football17 May 2023 22:16| © Backpage TXT
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Moataz Zaddem © Backpagepix

Esperance Tunis will have to overcome a 3-0 aggregate scoreline when they take on the experienced Al Ahly outfit in their CAF Champions League semifinal at the Cairo International Stadium on Friday night.

Kick-off is at 9pm CAT (SA, GMT+2)

Inspired by an in-form Percy Tau, Al Ahly asserted their dominance over Esperance Tunis at Stade Olympique de Rades last week Friday, putting three goals past the Tunisian oufit.

Tau opened the scoring in the eighth minute, after he evaded the Esperance left-back with a deceiving run into the penalty area. In slotting the ball into the back of the net, Al Ahly then went on to create numerous goal-scoring opportunities but were unable to double their lead in the first half.

The South African then completed his brace in 55th minute, while Mahmoud Kahraba added gloss to the scoreline in capping off a swift counter-attacking move in minute 75.

Reflecting on the win, Al Ahly coach Marcel Koller warned his side about becoming complacent and that the tie is far from over.

“We are so happy to win 3-0 away from home. However, that doesn’t mean we have already qualified to the final,” Koller said.

“Nothing is decided yet. We saw when Liverpool made a comeback against Barcelona by scoring four goals. Also, Juventus managed to net three times away from home against Real Madrid.

“We should not imagine that things have been decided. We should not underestimate Esperance de Tunis in the second leg and be fully concentrated because everything is possible in football.”

The defeat saw Esperance extend their losing streak to three games in all competitions as they battle to find form during an important period of their campaign.

As the hosts, Esperance are winless in their last three matches in the CAF Champions League on home soil, with their last victory being a 2-0 result against Zamalek in February.

More alarmingly for Esperance, the ES Tunis’ record against Al Ahly in the head-to-head battle does not make for a good reading.

In the last five matches played between the two teams in the tournament, Al Ahly managed to record four wins, with Esperance picking up one victory during this period.

Speaking ahead of the encounter, the Esperance head of Sport, Hamdi Al-Mudab, reassured supporters that the club will work hard toward gaining positive results going forward.