When Moroccan giants Wydad Athletic Club entertains their Tunisian counterparts Esperance Sportive de Tunis in Rabat on Friday as the 2018/19 Total CAF Champions League reaches the decisive stage, it won’t be the first time both sides are competing for the Holy Grail of continental club football.
The two sides, champions of the last two editions, Wydad in 2017, Esperance 2018 lock horns at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium in the Moroccan capital Rabat, in the first leg of this season’s CAF Champions League final, a repeat of what happened between the same sides eight years ago at the same stage.
Two-time champions Wydad met holders Esperance, who have three titles, in the 2011 final, with the Tunisians prevailing 1-0 on aggregate. After a barren draw in Casablanca, the Blood and Gold triumphed 1-0 in Rades to lift their second Champions League trophy then.
On the road to that final, the two sides faced off at the group stage. A 2-2 draw in Casablanca was followed by a goalless draw in Tunis with both sides qualifying to the semi-finals.
But the first CAF encounter between Wydad and Esperance dates back to 1998, when they locked horns in the semis of the now defunct CAF Cup Winners’ Cup. Esperance won 4-1 in Tunis, and Wydad fell short of producing a memorable comeback, winning the reverse fixture 2-0 in Casablanca. Esperance moved on 4-3 on aggregate to the final where they beat Primeiro de Agosto of Angola 4-2 on aggregate.
The Tunisian giants have the upper hand in six previous CAF head to head games, winning two, drawing three and losing just once. Esperance has scored seven goals compared to Wydad’s five.
Head-to-head: Esperance vs Wydad
1998 CAF Cup Winners’ Cup (Semi-final)
Esperance 4-1 Wydad
Wydad 2-0 Esperance
2011 CAF Champions League (Group Stage)
Esperance 2-2 Wydad
Wydad 0-0 Esperance
2011 CAF Champions League (Final)
Wydad 0-0 Esperance
Esperance 1-0 Wydad
Esperance wins: 2
Wydad wins: 1
Source: Confederation Africaine de Football (CAF)