Etoile thrown out of African Champions League

Etoile du Sahel fans invade the pitch during the 2-0 defeat by Esperance

Tunisian club Etoile du Sahel have been kicked out of the African Champions League following the crowd trouble that led to the abandonment of a home fixture against Esperance on 18 August.

African football's governing body CAF took the action on Monday, eliminating Etoile from the competition and erasing their results with immediate effect.

It is the first time a club has been expelled during the group stage.

As a result, Esperance and Sunshine Stars have now qualified from Group A.

Tunisian club Esperance and Sunshine Stars of Nigeria have six points each in a revised table and, with ASO Chlef of Algeria pointless, both clubs progress to the semi-finals of the competition.

In a statement CAF referred to "missile throwing, stones, bottles, firecrackers and pitch invasions" that occurred during the match in Sousse, which was played in front of Etoile supporters only.

Fans invaded the pitch twice and police used tear gas to disperse people before the referee was forced to call off the game on 69 minutes with Esperance 2-0 ahead.

Tunisian football has largely been played behind closed doors since the revolution in the country last year, mainly due to fear of crowd violence.

A go-ahead for spectators to be allowed back to the grounds was recently granted at the request of the financially strained clubs.

Since the pitch invasion in Sousse, Tunisia's sports ministry has again banned fans until the end of the season next month.

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