CAF Champions League defending champions Esperance de Tunis started their title defence on a slow note after being held to a 1-1 draw by Tout Puissant Elect Sport in their first leg of Round of 16 clash played on Sunday in N’Djamena.

The result leaves Chad side dreaming ahead of the second leg in Tunis as a scoring draw is all they will need in the least to pull them into the group stages.

Inside the opening minute, a genuine opportunity fell to Anis Badri but he shot completely off the mark from the laces of the boot.

A cut back from Iheb Mbarki saw the ball fall to the path of Hamdou Houni to take a shot from the middle of the park, but Adoum Deffalah managed to get down to make the save.

Elest Sport gradually found their way and was able to pick up spaces behind the opposing defence, which invited Toto to a shot on the half-volley.

Then, the half was filled with drama aplenty with the benches of both embroiled in a war of words over challenges and scuffles inside the field, which halted the game for a few minutes.

A curler from the right from Brahim nearly found the top corner but his free-kick unfortunately just flew over the post of Rami Jeridi.

Elect Sport provided more openings at the start of the second half with Mahamat beating the offside trap to take a low shot at Jeridi who saved easily.

On the other end, Esperance also tried to show they were in for business with Kwame Bonsu striking a wonderful shot from the edge of the box after twisting away from his marker but the Elect Sport keeper reacted with an equally fine save.

Three minutes later, Ilyes Chetti made a great sliding tackle to hack the ball away from the box after Leg had won a header at the far post off a Goudja cross to play the ball back into the area for Edgar to strike.

It was Esperance who grabbed the lead in the 68th minute through Ben Choug with a great strike that left Adoum stranded.

Elect Sport struck ten minutes later through Bokhit after connecting a pass on the edge of the box past Jeridi.

Five minutes later, the Chadians had the opportunity to extend their lead when they were awarded a penalty but they were wasteful as the effort was easily handled by Jeridi who parried the ball to safety.

Three minutes from time, Aubin cleared from the line after Ali Ben tapped goal ward corner from Iheb Mbarki which was missed by everyone in the box.

The Tunisian giants host the reverse in a fortnight with the winner advancing to the lucrative mini-league stage.

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