CAF Champions League: Esperance shock Sundowns

Yassine Khenissi (middle) scored both goals for Esperance de Tunis (Photo: Samuel Shivambu – BackpagePix)

Esperance du Tunis overcame Mamelodi Sundowns 2-1 in the 2017 CAF Champions League Group C match at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville on Friday.

The win takes the Tunisian giants to the top of Group C standings with seven points, while South Africa’s Sundowns slip down to the second spot on the table.

The visitors took a surprise lead against the defending champions just six minutes into game when Yassine Khensissi scored with a powerful shot to make it 1-0 to Esperance.

Sundowns then pressed the Blood and Gold defence, and they deservedly restored parity in the 19th minute following a good move by the home side.

Percy Tau made a good run before unselfishly setting up Sibusiso Vilakazi, who beat Esperance goalkeeper Moez Ben Cherifia to make it 1-1.

The Brazilians nearly took the lead for the first time in the 32nd minute, but Tebogo Langerman’s thunderous effort was brilliantly saved by Ben Cherifia.


The home side were forced to make a change on the stroke of halftime when injured Motjeka Madisha was replaced by Soumahoro Bangaly.

The score was 1-1 between Sundowns and the two-time Champions League winners Esperance at the interval following an action-packed first half.

The Blood and Gold pressed the Brazilians in the early stages of the second half as they looked to restore their lead.

Denis Onyango, the Sundowns goalkeeper, made a comfortable save from Esperance midfielder Anice Badri’s effort on the hour-mark.

Then the Brazilians began combining nicely and Leonardo Castro had a glorious opportunity to score in the 68th minute, but somehow he missed the target.

Sundowns had a chance to grab a late goal in the 87th minute when Langerman played a pass to Tau, but the latter’s first touch was poor and Ben Cherifia collected with ease.

Sundowns were left to rue that missed chance as Esperance were awarded a penalty two minutes later and Khenissi converted from the spot-kick to hand the visitors a 2-1 win.

Sundowns (1) 1 (Vilakazi 19′)

Esperance (1) 2 (Khenissi 6′, 89′)


Mamelodi Sundowns: Onyango, Ngcongca, Madisha (Bangaly 44′), Nthethe, Langerman, Morena, Vilakazi, Mabunda, T. Zwane, Tau, Castro

Esperance: Ben Cherifia, Chemmam, M’barki, Dhaouadi, Talbi, Sassi, Bguir (Machani 91′), Coulibaly, Badri (Rejaibi 80′), Khensissi, Ben Youssef.