Tunisian team takes African Champions League title
Tunisia’s football team Esperance came out on top of Egypt's Al-Ahly to take the African Champions League trophy.
Esperance midfielder Saad Beguir scored twice to help the Tunisian side to a 3-0 victory in the second leg of the final on Friday and claim the championship 4-3 on aggregate.
Esperance fought back from a 3-1 defeat in last week's incident-filled first leg in Alexandria, where controversial referee decisions clouded the outcome, to lift the continent’s top club prize in convincing fashion.
The Tunisians had struggled to break down a dogged Ahly defence, but made better headway as the game progressed, cheered on by a noisy 60,000-strong crowd in a stadium just outside of the capital Tunis.
Beguir scored with virtually the last touch of the first period, slipping the ball home after being teed up by a cut back from the left by Taha Yassine Khenissi.
The 24-year-old midfielder then got the all-important second goal as he rose to head home Mohamed Ali Yaccoubi’s cross in the 53rd minute before going off minutes later with a knee injury.
The second goal prompted a change in tactics from both sides as Ahly switched to attack and Esperance immediately made changes to bolster their defence.
But Esperance caught Ahly on the counter attack with Anice Badri scoring in the 86th minute with his eighth goal of this year’s competition.
The match had a tense build-up after the first leg, in which the referee handed Ahly two questionable penalties. There were also accusations of violence by both clubs' players on the pitch and in the tunnel after the match.
One of Ahly's strikers, Walid Azaro, was barred from participating in Friday's match because he ripped his jersey during the previous game.
Friday marked Esperance's third Champions League title after previous victories in 1994 and 2011. The team's win automatically places them in next year's African Champions League.
Ahly’s most recent African Champions League title was in 2013.