Egyptian giants Zamalek are the first team to make it to this season's CAF Champions Lague after eliminating defending Champions Esperance on a 3-2 aggregate this despite losing by a solitary goal on Friday in a match staged at the Stade Olympique de Rades.
Zamalek had arrived in the game with a two-goal cushion following their 3-1 first-leg win but knew that the intimidating environment in Tunis wasn’t going to be easy to wade.
Their fears were made worse with the hosts taking a fifth-minute lead through Billel Bensaha who tucked in a penalty after a Zamalek player had handled the ball in his own box.
With Esperance attacking, the visitors resolved to time-wasting tactics to reduce the tempo of their opponents; a tactic that was to hand their keeper Abougabal a yellow card late on.
Esperance tried to save the game by making some early substitution with Ben Hammouda and Meziane being introduced before the 71st-minute mark but Zamalek held on to progress to the next stage.
Zamalek will now wait for the winner between Raja Casablanca and TP Mazembe with both teams clashing in Congo; Raja having a 2-0 lead they recorded in the first leg of the tie.