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Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Esperance beat the odds to become African champions, says coach

Ahmed Abd El Rasoul, Friday 9 Nov 2018
ES Tunis's defender Sameh Derbali (L) fights for the ball with Al-Ahly's midfielder Islam Elsaid Mohareb during the CAF Champions League second leg final football match between Egypt's Al-Ahly and Tunisia's ES Tunis at the Olympic stadium in Rades on November 9, 2018 AFP
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Tunisia's Esperance had to overcome many obstacles to defeat Cairo giants Ahly and become the African Champions, coach Moine Chaabani said.

Esperance overturned a 3-1 first-leg deficit last week to earn a deserved 3-0 victory in the return match in Rades on Friday, securing their third title in history with a 4-3 aggregate win.

Chaabani, who only took charge after Esperance lost to Angola's Primeiro de Agosto in the first leg of the semi final, was grateful to his players.

"Thanks God for the victory. The match was a difficult one," Chaabani told BeIN Sports TV channel after the match.

"Esperance were written off by many pundits and were not the favourites for the title especially that we had to encounter many problems from the beginning.

"We missed key players due to injuries and suspensions and suffered a first-leg defeat in the final," he added.

"The management and the fans stood behind us and we finally became African Champions."

Ahly lost in the final for the second successive year, having suffered a defeat by Morocco's Wydad in last year's final. Esperance won the Champions League for the third time after earning their first victory over Ahly since 2011. 

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