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CAFCL: Espérance edge JSK to escape Algiers with quarterfinal first leg victory

A strike from Mohamed Ali Ben Hammouda early in the second half gave Tunisian champions Espérance a valuable away goal and 1-0 victory over hosts JS Kabylie in their CAF Champions League quarterfinal first leg clash in Algiers late Friday evening. A quick throw-in from Hamdou Elhouni set up Ben Hammouda to finish the only goal in a match that feature few opportunities between the two teams. Espérance will host JSK next Saturday in Tunis with their eyes on a place in the semifinals.

The hosts from Algeria came out with more purpose in the first half but failed to snatch the lead against the Blood and Gold. JSK midfielder Reda Boumechra got on the end of a cross from Kouceila Boualia but Espérance goalkeeper Moez Ben Cherifia was sharp to push Boumechra’s shot wide. Boualia had an opportunity in the 34th minute but Espérance defender Mohamed Amine Tougai deflected the attacker’s attempt off target.

Espérance caught the JSK defense sleeping in the 54th minute when quick thinking from Elhouni saw his throw-in send Ben Hammouda past defender Moussa Benzaid before firing low beyond the reach of keeper Mohamed Idir Hadid. It was the only shot on target of the match from the visitors and the Tunisian giants held off a late charge from JSK to make Ben Hammouda’s goal count as the match winner.

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