African Champions League: Esperance have edge over rivals Etoile in quarter-finals
Esperance edged rivals Etoile du Sahel 2-1 on Saturday in an African Champions League quarter-final first-leg showdown between two Tunisian clubs.
All the goals at the Olympic Stadium in Rades came from defenders during a weekend when no strikers found the net in the premier African club competition.
Chamseddine Dhaouadi put Esperance ahead after only two minutes, Ammar Jemal equalised just before the half-hour and Sameh Derbali snatched the late winner.
The narrow win leaves the most intriguing of the last-eight ties delicately balanced ahead of the return match in Sousse next Friday.
The other Saturday quarter-final, a dour struggle between Primeiro de Agosto of Angola and TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo, ended 0-0 in Luanda.
There was an electric atmosphere in Rades where Dhaouadi nodded twice former champions Esperance ahead from a free-kick before another centre-back, Jemal equalised.
Etoile looked like they might sneak a draw until full-back Derbali struck after 77 minutes.
There was far less excitement for a near-capacity crowd in Angola as Primeiro and Mazembe struggled for goals.
The home side wasted a good chance when Nigerian Akinfenwa Ibukun fired wide from the edge of the box on 19 minutes after a careless clearance by Ivorian goalkeeper Sylvain Gbohouo.
Mika Miche should have put Mazembe ahead later in the opening half when Primeiro got themselves into a tangle, but his close-range shot was blocked by a defender.
There were also no goals in the first match on Friday with Horoya of Guinea held in Conakry by record eight-time African champions Al Ahly of Egypt.
A few hours later, Senegalese midfielder Isla Daoudi Diomande scored early to earn Entente Serif of Algeria a 1-0 home win over title-holders Wydad Casablanca of Morocco.
The African champions qualify for the 2018 Fifa Club World Cup during December in the United Arab Emirates, where Real Madrid will be the star attraction.