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 The African Champions League 2000
  GROUP A match report
 Espérance Tunis - Africa Sports
All groups, all matches:
African Champions League 2000
schedule + results
knock-out rounds
Group A
Group B
Esperance Tunis:  Africa Sports: 
Saturday Nov 11, 1500 GMT 
Esperance Tunis (Tunisia) - Africa Sports (C. d'Ivoire) 2:0

Before the match:
If Africa Sport wins: Africa Sports will reach final
If Esperance wins: Esperance will reach final if not Sundowns win by a four goals higher margin against Sable de Batie (except special cases when completely weird scores like 6:5 and 5:0)
If Esperance and Africa Sports draw: Africa Sports will reach final if not Sundowns win against Sable de Batie.

1st half:
-('2)('3) Esperance begins with furious attacks, supported by the excited crowd. Two half chances, the first sees a artistic save by the Ivorian keeper against a ball that came from one of his own defenders
-('8) a first attempted attack by Africa Sports, stopped by the defence and answered right away with an Esperance attempt
-Esperance dominate the match with a lot of first quarter pressure as they are known, but that one attacking attempt with three men shows Africa Sports is seeking chances
-('17) Chihi loses the ball in midfield too casually and so triggers a dangerous Africa Sports counterattack, El Ouaer can deflect the eventual shot by a great save for a corner
-the match goes on with promising attacks on both sides, up and down the field 
-('20) Esperance easily squander a good opportunity after an error in the Ivorian defence, the weak shot is easily plucked down by the keeper
-('22) Another attack sets up Zitouni? all free, he slides into the cross but his attempt goes high into the air across the bar
-('23) good free kick situation for Africa Sports, 20 meters but not central, half right, the ball is struck full power and goes across the bar
-('27) Kanzari, Esperance man with the strong leg, tries a long range free kick but no problem for the keeper
-('33) An Africa Sports defender who has been shown a questionable yellow card before now makes a silly foul and is in danger of expulsion
-('34) On the other side a Africa Sports counter attack sees a mistimed running out of El Ouaer, the striker falls over him outside the box, but the referee says it's no foul and waves on
-('39) Esperance pressure throws the Ivorian defence into confusion and a hammer from 10 meters by Kanzari? crushes against the goalpost
-many dangerous attacks come by through balls on half left on Zitouni who then centers the balls
-('42) what looks like a huge chance for Esperance and a corner in consequence turns out a mirage as the ball had crossed the ground line before - it is goalkick for Africa Sports
-in the closing minutes of the half the Tunisian pressure mounts enourmously
-('45) a succession of corners, very fast played, a shot crushes against the crossbar , bounces on the ground a meter before the line, then high into the air, is headed out of the penalty area by a defender and volleyed back through the crowd of the players into the goal from about 20 meters by Bilel Lahmar - 1:0

halftime 1:0
the crowd is in ecstasy, Esperance have forced that goal, and the halftime result from Pretoria makes a promise of a miracolous come back for Esperance, which looked impossible two weeks ago, five minutes to the end of the Sable de Batie match. Africa Sports must come out attacking, maybe now even a draw could be enough?

2nd half:
-halftime result at Pretoria: Sundowns - Sable de Batie 1:1
-it seems to have been a quite long intermission, match has restartet 1610 GMT
-('50) Africa Sports #6 is lucky to get away with a yellow card for a bad looking foul against Gabsi
-('55) It is Reinaldo who makes the initial pass to open a perfect attack by Esperance using both wings: his pass opens up the space on the right for Gabsi, who's cross passes by the middle to the left, from where it is centered, Zitouni tries a diving header which bounces back from the goalpost in front of Kanzaris feet who scores into the opposite corner - 2:0
-('61) Reinaldo with a fast break along the right hand side, he tries to surprise the keeper with an angled shot insted of a cross, but the keeper intercepts that ball
-('62) An Africa Sports free kick is blocked by the wall
-('67) Africa Sports work out a good opportunity but can't score
-the match goes up and down the field now 
-Sundowns lead 2:1 in their match now, this result in the end would mean Esperance and Africa Sports both have to win this match, a draw is not enough for neither of them. Sundowns on the other hand needs at least 5 goals more to pass by Esperance
-('72) Esperance with two opportunities to decide the match but twice the good keeper can save the situations
-chances on both sides, some dangerous looking but offside called situations for Esperance and showcase saves by El Ouaer against a header after a corner and against a long range attempt, ('82 and '83) 
-('injury time) now balls disappear, Tunisian players get injuries every 10 seconds, this match should last some 10 minutes longer, meanwhile a loud whistling crowd requests the end of the match
-after 'only' 4 minutes it is over

final score: 2:0
Without some of their once prominent attack Africa Sports had not been dangerous enough to put much against the furiously attacking Esperance. In the end it turned out to be true what The Shot predicted after the Ivorian away match at Sable de Batie: squandering two points there might have been the deciding ppoint against Africa Sports as all 3 favorites won all their home matches and Africa Sports were the only team who did not beat Sable de Batie away. Sundowns eventually lost out because of that big margin defeat at Abidjan two weeks ago and also because Esperance could beat them at home in a season that seems to become the one of the miracolous comebacks for the Tunisians.
Esperance are qualified for the final against Hearts Of Oak.

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