Mohamed Ali Ben Romdhane scored in either half as Esperance beat 10-man Zamalek 3-1 in Rades on Saturday to move to seven points in Group D of the Total CAF Champions League.
Ahmed Fattoh turned from hero to villain for Zamalek, scoring the equalizer in the first half but got sent off 12 minutes into the second half for a second bookable offense.
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The Tunisian giant secure an important home victory against the White Knights to top group D with 7 points. #TotalCAFCL | #ESTZSC pic.twitter.com/wdPibAb1G7
Zamalek remained third in the group with just two points off back to back draws, with MC Alger moving three points clear in second place after their victory away to Senegalese debutants Teungueth.
In Rades, an exciting opening half saw the home side go to the breather 2-1 up with Ben Romdhane’s penalty two minutes to the break putting Esperance a goal up.
The Tunisian giants had gone ahead after 26 minutes when William Togui thumped home from inside the box. Ben Romdhane had once again played a crucial role, sliding Hamdi Nagguez through with a peach of a pass before the winger cut back a cross for Togui to finish.
Zamalek were punctured after starting faster off the blocks and were a constant threat with their runs but couldn’t get the goal. Ten minutes after conceding, Zamalek came close to the equalizer but skipper Fousseny Coulibaly made a vital clearance to block a cross from Ahmed Sayed with Hamid Ahadad lurking behind him.
But three minutes later, the White Knights were on level terms when Fattoh scored from inside the box after Ferjani Sassi had done well to cut poke the ball to him after cutting back from the left.
But the equalizer lasted only three minutes as Esperance got back into the lead via a penalty after Abdelraouf Benguit was hacked down inside the box.
It took Esperance just eight minutes after the restart to score their third goal, Ben Romdhane finishing in neatly with a low shot inside the box after a brilliant cutback from Hamdou Elhouni, a copy-paste of their first goal.
Three minutes later, they were handed a numerical advantage with Fattoh red carded.
They slowed down the pace of the game and managed the tempo well but still had two chances to stretch their lead with Elhouni forcing a low save off the Zamalek keeper before substitute Anice Badri’s shot from range went just wide.