Esperance overcome deficit to win CAF Champions League
Esperance got the goals they required to come back in impressive fashion from a two-goal deficit and win the CAF Champions League with a 3-0 home win over Al Ahly on Friday.
The Tunisian giants were propelled to their third title by 24-year-old Saad Beguir and his midfield partner Anice Badri.
Beguir's double reduced the deficit in the second leg in front of 60,000 rabid fans at the Stade Rades, on the outskirts of the Tunisian capital, before Badri put the outcome beyond doubt with a goal on the counterattack just before the end.
Ahly had been fancied to extend their record run of titles after going into the game with a 3-1 advantage from last Friday's controversial first leg in Alexandria.
However, Beguir and his teammates had other ideas.
His pair of goals came with eight minutes of each other and were due reward for Esperance's attacking enterprise, which they were slow to show at the beginning of the game but then got going as they slowly took control
Beguir ghosted into in the penalty area to slip home a cut back pass from Taha Yassine Khenissi with virtually the last kick of the first half, his effort going wide of the outstretched Ahly goalkeeper Mohamed El Shenawy.
His second goal, in the 53rd minute, saw Beguir win possession in midfield to set up a swift interchange of passes that concluded with Mohamed Ali Yacoubi banging in a perfectly weighted cross that Beguir rose unchallenged to head home, watched by the Ahly defenders who had been sucked out of position.
Badri confirmed his role as the talisman of his club's success in a late counter with some four minutes left, as Ahly were caught with too many players forward and Esperance pounced for a third.
Badri led the charge downfield and had options both left and right but elected to keep the ball at his feet before firing home a powerful shot for his eighth goal of this year's competition.
He had also come close not long after the second goal in an overwhelming showing from the Tunisians, with Ahly, shorn of suspended forward Walid Azaro, surprisingly outplayed.
The Egyptians had obviously set out to defend their two-goal lead and looked shell-shocked when Esperance fought their way back.
The Tunisian club, nicknamed 'Blood and Gold', have previously won the title in 1994 and 2011, and will represent Africa at the FIFA Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi in December.
They are also guaranteed an automatic place in the group phase of the next Champions League.