esperance

African Champions League quarter-finals first leg fixtures wrapped up Saturday with no clear semi-finals favorites ahead of return matches next week.

Out of the four ties, only two wins and equal number of barren draws were recorded.

Goals were hard to come by with just four celebrated, no striker was on the scoresheet.

Tunisian derby pitting arch rivals Esperance de Tunis against Etoile du Sahel in Rades was the most exciting in terms goals, ending 2-1 in favor of the former on Saturday.

Esperance, chasing their third African crown since 2011, went ahead through Chamseddine Dhaouadi two minutes into play to electrify fully packed Olympic Stadium, Rades.

Ammar Jemal responded for Sahel before the half hour and Sameh Derbali grabbed the winner for the hosts in the 77th minute.

All the goals came from set-piece situations.

In the other quarters’ match of the day, TP Mazembe of DRC held debutants Club Desportivo 1 de Agosto of Angola to a barren draw in Luanda.

Mazembe coach Pamphile Mihayo rued missed chances especially in the second half which they bossed but appreciated Agosto’s fighting spirit.

“That’s not a good result neither for us nor for Agosto. They started strongly but we managed to respond gradually.

We had a better second half couldn’t score. I’ve appreciated the way Agosto played. It’s good for African football to have more teams at this level,” Mihayo said.

Agosto coach Zoran Manojlovic alluded to fatigue for the slow second half.

“We did played a good match but TP Mazembe ended up being slightly better.

They were more consistent in the second half when my players started showing physical decline.

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We played over 40 games in 5 months and could not match the rhythm they brought in the second half,” the Serbian said.

On Friday, record eight-time champion Al Ahly SC of Egypt settled for a barren draw away to Horoya AC in Guinea while ES Setiff edged out defending champions Wydad Casablanca 1-0 at home.

The second leg matches take place next week with aggregate winners making the round of four.

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