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CAF Champions League: Esperance Beat 10-Man TP Mazembe

TP Mazembe suffered a 1-0 defeat away to Esperance de Tunis in a 2018/2019 CAF Champions League semi-final, first leg clash at the Olympic Stadium in Rades on Saturday afternoon.

TP Mazembe suffered a 1-0 defeat away to Esperance de Tunis in a 2018/2019 CAF Champions League semi-final, first leg clash at the Olympic Stadium in Rades on Saturday afternoon.

The defending champions were quick off the mark, signaling their intent as they enjoyed more possession in the opening moments of the game.

TP Mazembe grew in confidence as the match progressed with Nathan Sinkala working hard in midfield for the visitors.

Tresor Mputu had a great chance to send the Ravens ahead in the tenth minute after Muleka whipped in a decent cross, but the veteran forward guided his header over the bar.

Esperance countered a few minutes after with Gyalene Chalaali combining with Yassine Khenisi upfront, but Chalaali’s shot from just outside the box went narrowly wide.

Fousseyni Coulibaly should have opened the scoring in the 23rd minute but he got under the ball from Ghaylene’s cross and headed over from six-yards out.

Meshack Elia and Jackson Muleka had opportunities for Mazembe before the interval, but Esperance shot-stopper Ben Charifia proved his worth with a couple of fine saves to keep the Congolese champions at bay.

The two teams were locked at 0-0 during the half-time break.

It took only six minutes for the home side to break the deadlock after the restart and it was Youccef Belaili, who hit the back of the net.

Ben Mohammed set-up the striker, who then beat keeper Gbohouo to make it 1-0 to Esperance.

TP Mazembe went on the attack and they nearly equalized in the 65th minute through Kevin Mondeko, whose glancing header was brilliantly tipped away by goalkeeper Moez Ben Cherifia.

Mihayo Kazembe’s charges were reduced to 10 men as Kabaso Chongo was shown a straight red card in the 72nd minute for a second bookable offense.

The Ravens reacted to being a man down minutes later by bringing on defender Ben Malango at expense of striker Tresor Mputu.

Franck Kom almost doubled the lead for Esperance in the 80th minute after he unleashed a powerful strike that was impressively saved by shot-stopper Gbohouo.

Mazembe failed to bypass the Esperance defense in the closing stages of the second half, as the Tunisians held to the first-leg advantage.

How they line-up:

Espérance Tunis: Moez Ben Cherifia (GK), Mohamed Amine Meskini, Chamseddine Dhaouadi, Khalil Chammam, Ayman Ben Mohamed, Fousseyni Coulibaly, Franck Kom, Ghaylene Chalaali, Hamdou Elhouni, Youcef Belaili, Taha Yassine Khenissi.

TP Mazembe: Sylvain Gbohouo (GK), Issama Mpeko, Kabaso Chongo, Kevin Zatu Mondeko, Arsene Zola Kiaku, Nathan Sinkala, Christian Koffi Kouame, Mika Miche, Tresor Mputu, Meschack Elia, Jackson Muleka.

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