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CAFCL: Espérance draw JS Kabylie to qualify for the semifinals in second leg marred by supporter violence

Photo Credit: Fethi Belaid/AFP

Tunisian champions Espérance ST did enough on Saturday to qualify for the CAF Champions League semifinals following a 1-1 quarterfinal second leg draw against Algeria’s JS Kabylie in Tunis, giving EST a 2-1 victory on aggregate. Mohamed Ali Ben Romdhane scored early in the second half to give EST the lead before the hosts held off a final charge from JSK following Adem Redjem’s late strike. Espérance advance to face Al Ahly but appear likely to play their home leg behind closed doors after a long delay on Saturday caused by violence from the club’s supporters.

Espérance were the more threatening team for most of the second leg but JSK were able to defend well and keep the match close. JSK goalkeeper Abderrahmane Medjadel acrobatically tipped over from Yassine Meriah in the 3rd minute after the veteran EST defender got his head to a corner kick. Medjadel again rose to the occasion in the 28th minute by pushing away a fierce left footed effort from Sabir Bougrine.

The match was scoreless by halftime when home supporters clashed with JS Kabylie supporters as well as security, resulting in a long delay that lasted for up to forty-five minutes as Espérance players attempted to calm their fans before the second half started. Less than five minutes into the second half it was the hosts who gave themselves some breathing room when Ben Romdhane muscled off JSK defender Oussama Gattal to latch on to a long ball from Meriah and fire a left footed shot past Medjadel for an important goal.

JSK managed to find a late goal in the 85th minute to keep the tie suspenseful when EST keeper Moez Ben Chérifia spilled Redouane Zerdoum’s shot, allowing Redjem to pounce on the rebound and fire into the roof of the net. However it was too little, too late for the Algerian club whose surprise run in the competition came to an end with the full time whistle.

Highlights from the second leg are below.

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