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CAF Champions League

Esperance defender Iheb Mbarki ramains optimistic ahead of Caf Champions League final

14:07 EAT 09/11/2018
Percy Tau of Mamelodi Sundowns challenged by Iheb Mbarki of Esperance
Esperance are facing a tough task of overturning the 3-1 defeat they suffered away at Al Ahly in the first leg

Esperance defender Iheb Mbarki has brushed aside all the negativity surrounding Friday’s Caf Champions League final, return leg at the Stade Olympique de Rades.

In an eventful week which saw Al Ahly forward Walid Azarou suspended for Friday’s match by Caf due to unsporting behaviour, the build-up to the match has been tense. 

Esperance also had to endure Caf shooting down their bid to have the suspension of their defender Chamseddine Dhaouadi and Cameroonian midfielder Franck Kom rescinded.

The events even sucked in the Tunisian Football Federation and Egyptian Football Association, who attempted, in vain, to have all the suspended players cleared to feature on Friday.

It was also the Tunisian Football Federation, who reported Azarou to Caf, leading to his suspension. But right-back Mbarki is keep to put all that behind them ahead of the gigantic task at home.

"We remain focused but without getting carried away by anything because we do not need negative concentration at the risk of jeopardising the day of the match, Mbarki was quoted as saying by Koora.

The Tunisians need to win by a two-goal margin to be crowned African club champions for the third time in their history. But they face a determined Al Ahly who are gunning for a record-extending ninth Champions League title.

Mbarki’s opposite wingback Ayman Ben Mohamed has returned from injury after missing the first leg, boosting Esperance’s defence.