Match Preview: Esperance – Hearts of Oak to ignite old rivalry in Tunis

Esperance du Tunis will go into Sunday’s Confederation Cup game against Ghanaian giant Hearts of Oak without the service of its two strikers Yannick N’jeng and Haythem Jouini due to their respective injuries while the Phobians have also been hit with an injury concern as they will be without their enterprising left-back Shaun October but their squad will be bolstered with the return of captain Robin Gnagne and left-back Isaac Oduro after both missed out in the second leg clash against AC  Djoliba in Accra  due to suspension.

Fifteen years ago Esperance and Hearts of Oak battled each other for the prestigious trophy in club competition on the Africa soil but the Ghanaian side defiled all odds to beat the Tunisian giant on 5-2 aggregate after both legs to win the competition for the first time in the club’s history.

However, on Sunday, 17 May, 2015 – the old rivalry between the two powerful sides in Africa club football will be ignited in Tunis at the Rades Sports stadium in a game that will see the winner of the two legs sealing a qualification into the group stage of the Confederation cup.

Esperance have not be consistent this season as their hopes of reaching the group stage of the Champions league got dented by Sudanese side, El Marriekh as they go kicked out on a 2-2 aggregate and also lost the chance to fight for the Tunisian league title after their 1-0 away loss to Club African last Wednesday.

The Ghanaian side Hearts of Oak, have been in blossom form this season in the ongoing Confederation cup as they are yet to lose a game away, the Phobians last lost in this year’s Confederation cup qualifying round was when they lost 1-0 to AC Djoliba in their second leg clash in Accra but they managed to sealed a qualification after winning the first leg 2-1 in Mali.

Both sides hope kill the game in the first leg for the second leg to be an easy task, but Esperance will be seeking for a revenge while the Phobians will like to continue their dominance over the North Africa side.

Since 1990, Hearts of Oak have played Tunisian opponent 12 times. The Phobians are yet to lose a game to their current opponent Esperance du Tunis.


1990: Hearts 2-0 Club Africain
Club Africain 2 – 0 Hearts (Cup Winners Cup quarter-finals; lost 6-5 on pen.)

1997: Hearts 2 – 2 Etoile du Sahel
Etoile du Sahel 4 – 1 Hearts (Cup Winners Cup (second round); lost 6-3 on agg)

1998: Etoile du Sahel 2 – 1 Hearts
 Hearts 3 – 2 Etoile du Sahel (CAF Champions League (group stage))

2000: Esperance 1 – 2 Hearts
 Hearts 3 – 1 Esperance (CAF Champions League (final); won 5-2 on agg.)

2004: Hearts 1 – 0 Etoile du Sahel
Etoile du Sahel 1 – 0 (CAF Champions League (Round of 1/8); lost 5-4 on pens.)

2006: Hearts 1 – 0 Etoile du Sahel
 Etoile 1 – 0 Hearts (CAF Champions League (Round of 1/8); won 6-5 on pens. In Sousse)

Daniel David Quartey

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