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CAF Champions League: Holders Esperance Beat Zimbabwe’s FC Platinum

Esperance de Tunis managed to secure a 2-0 win over FC Platinum for their first win in the CAF Champions League group stages this season.

Esperance de Tunis managed to secure a 2-0 win over FC Platinum for their first win in the CAF Champions League group stages this season.

They started promisingly and the first real chance fell to FoussenyCoulibalyy at close range, but the Ivorian failed to tuck it away, blasting horribly wide.

Platinum miners came up with the chances too as dangerman Gift Mweti aimed to cut inside of Chamseddine Dhaoudi, but from a tight angle fired over the top.

Yassine Khenissi handed Esperance the lead in the 24th minute with a superb snap effort on the turn that flummoxed the Platinum defence after a clever through ball from Anice Badri.

The Zimbabweans had a great chance to level the matters just before the half-hour mark as Jeridi’s initial save inside the box fell favorably to William Stima, whose shot was on target but, Sameh Derbali was there on the line to head clear.

Ben Mohamed thought he should have been awarded a penalty with eight minutes of the first-half remaining after going down under a sliding challenge, but the referee saw nothing untoward and waved away the appeals.

The defending champions created the first chance after the break as Franck Kom played a brilliantly weighted ball to put Youcef Belaili clean through on goal, only for him to fire agonisingly wide at the near post.

Petros Mahri once again showed his brilliance to keep the scoreline low shortly before the hour-mark after again denying Khenissi, after the forward was once more played in behind the Platinum defence.

Esperance would go on to make the most of their goalkeeper’s heroics as Khenissi scored his second with 65 minutes elapsed, a brilliant piece of shot into the back of the net.

The Blood and Gold moved at a medium pace after their second goal with Chamam’s attempts to hit a long-range effort coming to naught.

Platinum were showing little threat, and Esperance nearly made them pay in the 70th minute when Hamdou found the side-netting off a cross from the left side.

With time ticking by, Gift Bello peeled off a cross-field delivery and let fly with a rocketing shot but Rami Jeridi showed tremendous acrobatics to deny him a chance on the scoreboard.

Platinum introduced Kevin Moyo to their attack and his entry brought great excitement amongst the club’s faithful.

The Blood and Gold were living dangerously though which nearly saw them concede through substitute Never Tigere, who ran onto a long ball to only to send it over the crossbar.

Norman Mpenza’s troops lacked a sense of urgency with five minutes left on the clock.

It was becoming easy for the hosts in the end as Platinum could not find the rhythm and the Tunisian giants kept their shape at the back to claim the all-important victory.

How they lined up:

Esperance de Tunis Starting XI: Rami Jeridi (GK), Sameh Derbali, Chamseddine Dhaouadi, Khalil Chamam, Ayman Ben Mohamed, Fousseny Coulibaly, Franck Kom, Anice Badri, Youcef Belaili, Hamdou Elhouni, Taha Yassine Khenissi

FC Platinum Starting XI:
Petros Mhari (GK), Edwin Madhanaga, Devon Chafa, Kevin Madzongwe, Rainsome Pavari, Mkhokheli Dube, William Stima, Gift Bello, Lawrence Mhlanga, Elvis Moyo, Gift Mbweti.

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