Esperance Fail To Win Third Consecutive CAF Champions League Title

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Moroccan referee Redouane Jiyed (C-R) presents a red card to an Esperance’s midfielder Mohamed Ben Romdhane (C-L) during the first leg of the CAF Champions League Quarter-final football match between Egypt’s Zamalek and Tunisia’s Esperance at the Cairo International Stadium in the capital on February 28, 2020.
Khaled DESOUKI / AFP

Tunisian club Esperance this weekend became the latest victims of a jinx that has prevented any club winning the CAF Champions League three consecutive times.

Zamalek of Egypt defeated the 2018 and 2019 trophy-holders 3-2 on aggregate in a quarter-final after losing the second leg 1-0 in Tunis Friday.

Esperance joined Al Ahly of Egypt and TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo (twice each) and Enyimba of Nigeria as back-to-back title winners who could not complete a treble.

The Tunisians, who also lost to Zamalek in the one-off CAF Super Cup match last month, were hit by a series of suspensions before the second leg of the Champions League clash.

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Coach Moine Chaabani and his deputy, Mejdi Traoui, were banned for four matches and fined for aggressive behaviour, offensive language and threats after a 3-1 first-leg loss in Cairo.

Captain and center-back Khalil Chemmam received a six-match ban and a $40,000 (35,500 euro) fine for spitting at the Moroccan match officials and using offensive language.

Midfielder Abdelraouf Benguit got a four-match suspension and a $20,000 fine for using offensive language against the referees.

Besides the individual sanctions, Esperance were fined $10,000 because their supporters threw flares at the Cairo International Stadium.

Failed CAF Champions League treble bids:

1969

Mazembe (lost 5-3 on aggregate to Ismailia of Egypt in final)

2005

Enyimba (eliminated after finishing third in Group A)

2007

Ahly (lost 3-1 on aggregate to Etoile Sahel of Tunisia in final)

2011

Mazembe (disqualified after round of 32 for fielding ineligible player)

2014

Ahly (lost 4-2 on aggregate to Al Ahly Benghazi of Libya in round of 16)

2020

Esperance (lost 3-2 on aggregate to Zamalek of Egypt in quarter-finals)

AFP