Esperance suffer third defeat in Confederation Cup

African Confederation Cup
African Confederation Cup

Esperance lost to visitors Stade Malien in the African Confederation Cup group phase to suffer their third successive loss, as holders Al Ahly went top of the Group A standings with a win over Etoile du Sahel.

Malien handed Esperance a 2-1 defeat in Rades, near Tunis with striker Mamadou Coulibaly scoring the winner three minutes from time.

Stade Malien secured the win despite finishing the game with ten men after defender Ibrahim Keita was sent off just before half time

The visitors started well thanks to an opener from Abdoulaye Sissoko.

Fakhreddine Ben Youssef levelled the score for the hosts, before Coulibaly's late winner.

After three games, the two-time African champions Esperance are bottom of the Group A standings without a point, heaping more pressure on their French coach, Jose Anigo. Stade Malien have four points.

Holders, Al Ahly of Egypt sit at the top with seven points after their 1-0 win over Tunisia's Etoile du Sahel on Saturday night.

A first half strike from Waleed Soliman was enough for the Egyptian giants to win the contest on Saturday in Suez.

Soliman volleyed home from his unreliable right foot six minutes past the half-hour mark to ensure Ahly maintain their unbeaten run at the mini-league stage and remain on course for a place in the last four.

Ahly have one more point than Etoile who fell to their first group stage defeat.

On Sunday, fellow Egyptians Zamalek took a big stride towards the semi-finals by beating AC Leopards of Congo 2-0 to go nine points clear at the top of Group B.

Striker Bassem Morsy and playmaker Aymen Hefny scored in the first half as Zamalek continued their impressive run in the second tier continental club championship.

In the group's other match, also played on Sunday, South Africans Orlando Pirates pulled off a surprise 1-0 win over Tunisia's CS Sfaxien.

The decisive strike came from forward Thabo Rakhale just before half-time, handing Pirates a huge boost to their hopes of progressing to the last-four. They sit second in the table on six points - five ahead of both Leopards and Sfaxien.