Esperance de Tunis will host defending champions Al Ahly in the 2020-21 CAF Champions League first-leg semifinal match at Stade Olympique de Rades on Saturday.
Al Ahly await the Tunisian giants who booked their spot in the final four with a thrilling penalty shootout win over CR Belouizdad. This was after the two-legged tie ended 2-2 on aggregate.
The Blood and Gold have been one of the most successful teams in Africa’s premier cup competition, especially in recent times. Since 2010, ES Tunis have reached the CAF CL final on five occasions. They have won it three times including back-to-back titles in 2018 and 2019.
In total, Esperance have won four Champions League crowns. They are fourth on the all-time list behind only Zamalek, TP Mazembe (both five). Al Ahly have won a record nine titles.
Al Ahly are hoping to win back-to-back African titles and a 10th Champions League trophy. They overcame South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns 3-1 on aggregate. The Egyptian giants have qualified for their 17th semifinal in Africa’s premier club competition.
It has been a hectic season for the defending champions. They beat RS Berkane 2-0 in the CAF Super Cup final just last month.
Mosimane confident of Ahly’s chances
“The game against Esperance will be difficult as they are a big team with a special coach but Ahly are always ready for the big games,” Al Ahly head coach Pitso Mosimane told the Ahly TV channel.
“We played bigger games like Bayern Munich at the FIFA Club World Cup, Zamalek at the African Champions League finals, so we are always ready for the big events.”
Mosimane sounds supremely confident about his side’s chances going into the semifinals.
This weekend’s match will be the first meeting between the two clubs since the 2018 final. Esperance won 4-3 on aggregate following a comprehensive 3-0 win in Rades back then. The Tunisians will be hoping for a similar story this time as well but Ahly are a supreme side.
The aggregate winner will face either Wydad Casablanca or debutants Kaizer Chiefs in this year’s final of the CAF Champions League.