Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

FIFA: Club World Cup Team Guide – Espérance Tunis

Posted in African Football by peterbein on December 4, 2011

Esperance logoTunisian giants Espérance will make their maiden appearance in the FIFA Club World Cup following their second CAF Champions League title win, their first such title for seventeen years, which was achieved with a 1-0 aggregate victory over Moroccans WAC Casablanca in the final. Should the Tunis based side overcome the challenge of Asian champions Al Sadd in the quarter-finals, a glamour tie against UEFA Champions League winners FC Barcelona will be on the cards for one of Africa’s most famous clubs.

Espérance began their successful 2011 CAF Champions League campaign by knocking out ASPAC FC from Benin 5-2 on aggregate before Senegal’s Diaraf FC were put to the sword with a 6-0 drubbing. The 24-time Tunisian champions then managed to top their CAF Champions League group ahead of WAC Casablanca, MC Alger and record champions Al Ahly Cairo with a record of two wins and four draws from their six games. Espérance, along with WAC, both went through to the semi-finals of the competition and were able to dispose of Al-Hilal Omdurman and Enyimba FC in their respective matches to set up a showpiece two-legged meeting in the final. In a tight contest the first leg, played in Casablanca, ended up as a goalless stalemate and the return fixture in Tunis was settled by just the one goal which came from Harrison Afful in the 20th minute. The narrow 1-0 aggregate win gave Espérance a long-awaited second African crown and the chance to show off their talents in Japan this year.

Since winning the CAF Champions League in November a new domestic league season has begun in Tunisia with Espérance suffering a mixed bag of results. They opened their 2011-12 Tunisian league account with a 1-1 draw away to EGS Gafsa before recording their first win with a 3-0 score line over Monastir. Their most recent league game saw them lose 2-1 to early season pacesetters Bizertin which leaves Espérance in eighth place of the sixteen team league with just four points to show for their efforts. The only good thing about the timing of their oncoming FIFA Club World Cup quarter-final against Al Sadd is that the Qatari outfit is also in poor domestic form having lost their last two matches in the Stars League. With neither side on a high ahead of their match it is too close to call a winner but, if one thing is certain, it is that both sides will give their all in the hope of meeting the European champions in the semi-finals.



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