Caf Champions League
Saturday Group A results
KCCA 0-1 Esperance
Township Rollers 0-1 Al Ahly
No wonder when they came to Kampala for Saturday’s second leg Caf Champions League clash with Uganda’s KCCA, they knew exactly what to do.
They allowed KCCA just limited playing time in areas of the pitch that matter most, and capitalized on the hosts deficiencies in defence to hurt the Ugandans on the break.
In the end, first half substitute Haythem Jouini’s 41st minute goal was enough to claim Esperance’s second win over KCCA in a space of under two weeks. The first leg ended 3-2.
“We knew it was going to be a difficult game,” said the Esperance coach, Yahia Khaled, “We have a lot of respect for KCCA. We spent the whole week studying their different systems.”
Khaled had studied Mutebi’s favoured 3-5-2, drawing in Muzamiru Mutyaba, Allan Okello and Patrick Kaddu’s probes, which in turn invited KCCA defence to push further their highline.
And when the goal came, it was too late for KCCA highline to retreat, Jouini stealing behind them to capitalize on a long ball to beat Charles Lukwago – who was later in the dying minutes sent off for a second bookable offence – in the hosts goal.
“It was a very good game; a real Champions League game quality with a lot of engagement,” added Khaled.
Defeat left both KCCA and Botswana’s Township Rollers, who also lost 1-0 to Egypt’s Al Ahly, bottom on three points apiece after four matches.
Esperance top Group A on 10 points with two games to go while Ahly are second on seven.
Ahly’s win also meant Esperance qualified for the last eight. The Egyptians are primed to join them.