Tunisia giants, Esperance book their quarter finals place after a hard fought 2-2 draw away to AS Vita in their penultimate Group B match on Saturday in Kinshasa, going through with holders Mamelodi Sundowns.
The stalemate came as a piece of good news to the defending champions, Sundowns, who had beaten Ethiopia’s Saint George 1-0 away in Addis Ababa in an earlier kick-off.
With a game to spare, Esperance leads the pack on nine points, one more than Sundowns. Saint George has five points and AS Vita in that order with four points. Both Saint George and AS Vita will certainly finish behind Esperance and Sundowns irrespective of the results of the final day matches next month.
With their unbeaten record under scrutiny, Esperance stunned the packed crowd at the Stade des Martyrs in the DR Congo capital, Kinshasa, with the opener on 11 minutes through new sensation Taha Yassine Khenissi.
AS Vita responded in style and striker Agiti Etekiama headed home the equalizer on 23 minutes from Ngonda Muzinga’s cross from the left.
Etekiama was on hand to haunt the visitors’ backline with yet another header from an Oumar Sidibe corner to give Les Dauphins Noirs the lead on the half-hour mark.
An improved Esperance earned a penalty on 59 minutes after AS Vita defender Kupa Makwekwe fouled Fakhreddine Ben Youssef in the vital area, a challenge that saw Makwekwe shown a straight red card.
Khenissi converted the penalty for the equalizer and his fifth goal in as many matches.
In Addis Ababa, Liberian-import Anthony Laffor struck four minutes from time as Sundowns stunned their hosts, Saint George.
Source: Confederation Africaine de Football