Esperance produce fightback against Al Ahly to win CAF Champions League and book place at Fifa Club World Cup in UAE
Trailing 3-1 from the first leg, the Tunisian side secured a 3-0 win to clinch the title and take their place in next month's tournament in the Emirates
Esperance have pulled off a remarkable turnaround to win the CAF Champions League and book their place in the Fifa Club World Cup in the UAE next month.
The Tunisian club, seeking a third continental crown, overcame a 3-1 deficit from the first leg against Al Ahly, defeating the Egyptian giants 3-0 at the Stade Olympique de Rades late on Friday night to secure a 4-3 aggregate victory.
Saad Bguir was the unlikely hero, the midfielder scoring once in either half to draw Esperance level on aggregate – that despite the fact he started the match only because regular Franck Kom was suspended.
The hosts then made certain their win five minutes from time, when Anice Badri finished off a fine counter-attack to give Esperance a first African title since 2011.
Champions in 1994 also, the Tunisian side will now compete in the Club World Cup, which takes place in the UAE for the second successive year from December 12-22.
Real Madrid, who triumphed last year in the Emirates, have already confirmed their return, together with Mexico’s Guadalajara and New Zealand’s Team Wellington.
UAE champions Al Ain are the host representatives, and should they come through their play-off with Wellington on December 12, they will take on Esperance in the quarter-final three days later. Both matches are at Al Ain’s Hazza bin Zayed Stadium.
Asia’s representatives will be settled on Saturday, when Iran’s Persepolis host Japan’s Kashima Antlers in the second leg of the Asian Champions League. Kashima are 2-0 up from last week's initial encounter.
The final Club World Cup slot will be taken by either Boca Juniors or River Plate. The Argentine heavyweights meet on Saturday at La Bombonera in the first leg of the Copa Libertadores final, the first time in history that the two go up against once another in the showpiece to South American club football.
Updated: November 10, 2018 10:21 AM