By Sports Reporter/Doha
Esperance Sportive de Tunis clinched their fourth Tunisian Super Cup title after beating Club Athletique Bizertin 2-1 in a pulsating match at the Al Duhail Stadium yesterday. It was a happy end to Esperance’s Qatar visit, after they were beaten by Moroccan team Raja Casablanca in the African Super Cup last Friday at the same stadium.
Two goals in the opening 16 minutes paved the way for Esperance’s victory, with the Tunisian giants eager to bounce back from the African Super Cup debacle. Bizertin attempted a fight back and found an equaliser in the 33rd minute after Halim Darragi converted a penalty, but Esperance held on to seal a famous win.
The Tunisian Super Cup is traditionally played between the Tunisian Ligue Professionnelle champions and the winners of the Tunisian Cup, and it was being held for the first time in 18 years. Since its return in 1994, the one-off match has been organised only three times in 1994, 1995 and 2001. And Esperance retained the title they won in 2001, when they had beaten Sportif de Hammam-Lif 3-1.
Yesterday, Esperance’s Youcef Belaili was the star of the show with the Algerian forward putting on a brilliant display on the night. Belaili made assists for both the goals, as the 30-year-old terrorised Bizertin defenders.
For the first goal, Belaili skipped past Bizertin clueless defenders Wajdi Jabberi and Wissam Bousnina on the left and played a perfect ball to Anice Badri, who slammed it past goalkeeper Khemais Thamri.
Three minutes later, Belaili played a terrific through ball from the half-line to Taha Khenissi, who slotted home easily to make it a dream start for Esperance.
Two goals down in no time, Bizertin went on an all-out with Darragi coming close in the 28th minute but his shot was blocked easily by Esperance goalkeeper Moez Ben Cherifia.
Five minutes later, Bizertin were given an opening when a clumsy tackle from left-back Aymen Mahmoud on Ibrahim Ouattara resulted in a penalty, which Darragi had little problem in converting.
In the second-half, Esperance denied any real chance for Bizertin to equalise as they controlled the play. They should have scored at least three more, but for poor finishing and some outstanding work by Bizertin custodian Thamri.
The 38-year old Thamri, without a doubt produced the moment of the match in the 90th minute when he dived full lunge to make an incredible goal line save to deny Khenissi. That brilliant piece of work kept his team’s chances alive with three minutes of injury time remaining but Bizertin did not even come close to finding an equaliser.
The Tunisian Super Cup was hosted by the Qatar Football Association in partnership with Qatar Stars League and Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy.
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