Friday's Caf Champions League review: Esperance upstage FC Platinum, Ismaily vs Club Africain tie abandoned due to crowd trouble

Esperance v Al-Ahly
The Caf Champions League resumed on Friday with Esperance overpowering Zimbabwean champions FC Platinum 2-0 in Tunis, Al Ahly salvage a draw at Saoura

A brace by Taha Yassine Khenissi ensured a 2-0 victory for Esperance over visitors FC Platinum, and saw the Tunisians collect their first full set of maximum points in Group B.

Khenissi scored a goal in either half to hand defending champions Esperance the three points against the Zimbabwean champions.

After drawing 1-1 with Horoya in their first match away, Esperance recovered to notch a maiden win in this group.

While the Zimbabweans offered little attack, Esperance opened the scoring 24 minutes into the game with Khenissi beating the visitors’ goalkeeper Petros Mhari.

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The first half ended with both sides barely producing clear-cut chances.

But after the restart with the hosts dominating possession, Khenissi doubled Esperance’s advantage in the 65th minute.

Cameroonian midfielder Franck Kom provided a headed pass to Khenissi to finish home with his head and seal the victory for the Tunisians.

With other Group B contestants Orlando Pirates thumping Horoya 3-0 in Soweto on Friday, the South Africans now top the group, followed by Esperance while FC Platinum are in third position.

Meanwhile, riots characterised the clash between Ismaily and Club Africain which ended with the Tunisian visitors winning 2-1 on Friday before the match was abandoned.

It was a second straight defeat for Ismaily who lost their opening match 2-0 away at TP Mazembe last weekend.

But Friday’s match was full of drama as Ismaily fans were angered by Cameroonian referee Neant Alioum whom to them dished out what appeared to be controversial calls.

After Namibia forward Benshon Shilongo had thrust Ismaily in front just eight minutes into the game, the Egyptians appeared to be on course for a win.

But two converted penalties by Ghazi Ayadi in the 40th and 45th minute unsettled the hosts’ fans whose protests caused brief stoppages to the match.

As for the second penalty, the referee first pointed for a freekick just outside the box before changing his mind.

This infuriated Ismaily fans who later on went berserk this time baying for the head of the referee whom they felt was sabotaging their team.

The situation got far worse in the dying stages of the match when they hurled objects onto the pitch, targeting Alioum's assistants which led to a lengthy stoppage and subsequently the calling off of the match.

It would however now be interesting to see how Caf will react to the conduct of Ismaily fans which could lead to the team's expulsion from the competition.

Eslewhere, a late headed goal by Karim Nedved salvaged a 1-1 draw for Al Ahly against Algerian side JS Saoura.

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The Algerian hosts had moved ahead through Yahia Cherif's goal on the hour mark and looked almost to claim three points against the record eight-time African champions.

But with five minutes to go, Nedved rose high to connect with his head a cross from Mohamed Hany and save the Egyptians from their first group defeat.

The draw was some sort of recovery by Saoura who opened their group campaign with a 3-0 defeat away at Simba, while Al Ahly remain unbeaten having overcame AS Vita 2-0 in their opening game.