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 The African Champions League 2000
  FINAL 1st leg
 Espérance Tunis - Hearts Of Oak
All groups, all matches:
African Champions League 2000
schedule, groups, reports, results
Final 2nd leg
Final overview
Esperance Tunis: Hearts Of Oak:
Dec 2 1300 GMT: African Champions League Final, 1st leg
Espérance Tunis - Hearts of Oak (Accra, Ghana)  1:2 

Before the match:
After the CAF has decided that the second African team at the World Club Championships will be the winner of the Cup Winners Cup, this trophy has become even more valuable. The decision has its pros and cons. 
On one hand you will have a trophy winner to qualify and it will be one with a name of biggest reputation in African club competition history. No team has won more Champions League/Champions Cup trophies than this two (Zamalek 4, Canon 3).
On the other hand it will be a team which is far away from being the second best contemporary African club team: Zamalek has not won an Egyptian championship for years and the Egyptian champions have not made a Champions League final since 1996. Canon Yaounde is only an average midtable team from Cameroon and Cameroons club have made no impact at all in the Champions League this decade. The last Champions Cup title for them came 20 years ago. In the same time you will have one of the two finalists of the Champions League, Hearts Of Oak Accra or Esperance Tunis, miss out on the World Club Championships although they both seem to deserve to be there, considering the strength of their teams and their dominance in actual African football.
Also the match has become a match about too much money (difference). It also dseems to decrease the worth of the trophy if it is more a qualification match for another competition and money talk is all around it.

1st half:
- Hearts are said to play with Emmanuel Kuffour who seems to have been doubtful for the match
- Esperance in traditional red/gold, Hearts in purple
- ('2) Esperance, famous for their furious match starts, already with two good scenes in front of the goal by #2 who plays attack with Brazilian teenager Reinaldo
- ('6)('7) Hearts try to attack but get caught in the often used Esperance offside trap
- ('9) Hearts keeper perfectly plucks down a cross after a dangerous free kick situation
- ('10) Hearts with a first dangerous counter attack and Esperance keeper legend El Ouaer with a fine save against a sharp shot from the right hand side
- Esperance motor has started to stutter, they seem a bit hectical
- ('15) but their most effective attacker #2 gets a free kick from the left and Kanzari's free kick cross finds the dangerous defender Jairi who is always in front of the goal for set pieces but his header goes wide
- ('16) Hearts mistake in build up, Esperance play fast and Zitouni beats the keeper - but his shot gets scratched off the line by a defender
- ('17) Hearts in more trouble but survive a fast Esperance attack again
- ('17) and answer with a counter attack themselves - but El Ouaer is out of the goal in time, takes the risk of a foul and red card but he has played the ball against the foot of the attacker from where it goes out for a goalkick
- ('20) Kanzari and Zitouni almost surprise Hearts with a nice free kick scenario, Zitouni comes a meter short for the cross
- ('22) a Chihi through ball on #2 gets intercepted by the well alerted Hearts keeper, who has to get treated for injury like El Ouaer 5 minutes ago
- ('24) Ali Zitouni who's strength is his work for the team but not cool finishing, gets the ball unmarked after a corner 6 meters in fron of the goal and fires across the bar
- ('25) good save by Hearts keeper against Zitouni
- ('26) Gabsi breaks through on the right hand side but with the goal wide exposed to him he shoots wide right
- ('27) Kanzari free kick from 25 wiped out of the triangle by Hearts keeper Sammy Adjei
- ('29) Zitouni fires from 18 meters central position but his shot goes wide left by a narrow margin
- ('31) Esperance strip the ball from Hearts defenders by constant pressing and Reinaldo creates a dangerous situation by a solorun but his sidepass finds nobody
- ('32) Ali Zitouni heads from 4 meters, unmaked, but not precise enough, so the keeper can deflect it for a corner
- ('33) Esperance create constant pressure on the gol by several crosses using both wings
- ('35) Esperance have played out the defence by a #2 run on the left wing and a cross to Gabsi - he wants to score into the empty goal but in the last moment a defender can irritate him
- ('36) suddenly a chance on the other side when a cross surprises El Ouaer as it turns to a ball on the goal but sails wide very close
- ('37) another fast Esperance attack: Kanzari sends Gabsi, who takes apart the Hearts defence by a side pass to Zitouni who this time stays cool and finsishes into the empty goal - 1:0
- it is the fast, direct Esperance game that causes problems for Hearts: when Esperance wins balls, when they have throw-ins, free kicks, they play forward as fast as possible
- ('44) the great Hearts keeper Adjei again intercepts a dangerous attack in form of a Reinaldo cross on Zitouni who had beaten his defender
- ('45) this time Esperance sleep while Hearts play a quick corner, but El Ouaer plucks down the cross
- ('injury time) a fine Hearts attack ends with a rather harmless shot, no problem for El Ouaer 

halftime 1:0
Tunisian statistics: ball possession: 55:45, corners 3:4, offsides 1:6, shots 11:3, fouls/free kicks even

2nd half:
- questions for the second half: can Esperance keep up that tempo? or will Hearts have refocused and come out better prepared?
- ('46) indeed Hearts come out attacking and surprise a lethargic beginning Tunisian defence: they score a goal by a header but it is called offside
- ('47) Esperance give a quick answer and Adjei, who had been perfect in the first half, has some problems with crosses here
- ('50) great save by Adjei against a Zitouni header
- ('53) Esperance have just squandered another good situation in fron of the goal when:
- ('53) a fast counter attack features Ismael Addo? (#18) who scores by a low shot against the not perfectly placed El Ouaer - 1:1
- an Esperance header crushes against the crossbar and bounces against the keeper who is either on the line or in the goal from where the ball bounces out into the field again - Esperance player want to have seen a goal but the referee waves on
- ('57) Kanzari free kick from 18 wider right by a half meter
- ('60) A Hearts player, Ismael Addo?, has collapsed in midfield for an unknown reason - it looks very dangerous (he does not move) and he is carried off and replaced by #10
- ('65) two players lie on the ground, Hearts #6 in a stupid way seems to retaliate for something, whatever it was, and gets the red card
- ('71) Esperance: second BrazilianAdailton comes in for Kanzari
- ('73) Hearts subtitute a player (Charles Taylor?)
- ('75) great save by Adjei against a deflected distance shot
- ('76) Esperance within three minutes fool Hearts by the same corner trick (an unmarked player at the edge of the peanalty area set up by a disguised pass) but the second time they quander the situation by an unprecise shot/cross
- ('80) Hearts: a one-two sets up a breakthrough by #10 who dribbles past El Ouaer and passes into the middle where #3 E.Kuffour? scores from close range - 1:2
- ('83) a Reinaldo solorun and shot from more than 20 meters but no problem for Adjei
- ('85) Esperance come close the 90th time but again the eventual scoring attempt goes up into the clouds
- ('86) a half chance for Hearts 
- ('87) E: Reinaldo conquers the ball, breaks through on the left side,  but then - another pass on the wrong spot in the crucial moment
- ('89) Esperance look tired and aklmost get the third goal on a counter attack but El Ouaer rescues against a close range shot from a rather difficult angle
- 4 minutes injury time signals the referee
- Esperance look totally demotivated, only Reinaldo and Adailton try it with soloactions, and Hearts are closer to a third goal now
- ('injury time) suddenly the huge opportunity for Esperance but the ball gets deflected and rolls wide by centimerters
- ('injury time) another Reinaldo solo effort but his 18 meter rocket goes wide right by a meter
- match over

final 1:2
Tunisian statistics: ball possession: 57:43, corners 12:5, offsides 1:11, shots 22:9
Esperance has lost because of the old North African desease of finishing problems. The opposite was Hearts: despite with only a few opportunities they made two goals,  9:1 second half corners and 11:6 second half shots for Esperance, but 0:2 goals, it tells all.
This means a tough uphill task for the Tunisians in the return match: they need to score at least 2 goals. But maybe with more space in an away game they will do better. 

Attendance: 30,000
Esperance: 1-Chokri El Ouaer; 7-Tarek Thabet, 6-Faycal Ben Ahmed, 15-Radhi Jaidi, 3-Hakim Nouira; 14-Sirajeddine Chihi, 8-Hassan Gabsi, 18-Maher Kanzari (6-Adailton 69), 2-Taoufik
Hammani; 9-Ali Zitouni, 10-Reinaldo
Hearts of Oak: 1-Sammy Adjei; 6-Yaw Amankwah Mireku, 5-Jacob Nettey, 15-Agyeman Duah; 17-Stephen Tetteh, 14-Joe Ansah, 12-Charles Allotey (2-Daniel Ziem Quaye 76), 9-Adjah Tetteh,
3-Emmanuel Osei Kuffour,18-Ishmael Addo (10-Emmanuel Adjogu 59), 8-Charles Taylor (4-Edmund Copson 71)
Referee: Lim Kee Chong (Mauritius)

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