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Esperance strives to change its fate against Ahly

Published: Updated:
Director of Esperance de Tunis football club expressed his concerns over the team’s second leg match with al-Ahly, saying they should strive for at least one goal to avoid Sportif Sfaxien’s scenario in 2006.

“We have to score in the second leg in Tunisia to avoid Sportif Sfaxien’s fate in 2006,” Ahram Online quoted, Riadh Bennour, saying after the Tunisian club’s match against Egypt’s Ahly on Sunday.

“We played a superb game in Egypt but the second leg in Tunisia will be difficult,” Bennour added.

Despite his team’s 1-1 draw with the Red Devils, the director fears a similar event in 2006 when their first leg ended in Egypt with a 1-1 draw, but Ahly managed to defeat the team in the second leg and win the championship.

Zamalek’s coach, an Egyptian football team known to be Ahly’s historical rival, said halting the Egyptian football league had negatively affected the Ahly players.

Coach Jorvan Vieira told Al Arabiya that the Tunisian team was technically and physically more alert during the match, making it difficult for the Red Devils to play under Esperance’s good-defense play.

Vieira said friendly matches are not enough to fully prepare a team for the final match, adding that the situation would have been completely different if the league was resumed and fans attended the games.

The two finalists are scheduled to play in Tunisia on Nov. 17 in the second leg of the CAF Champions League final. A goalless draw will mean a victory for the title holder Esperance, where the Ahly has to score at least once in order to win the cup.
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