Visiting Tunisian side Esperance Sportive de Tunis eased past Kenyan side Gor Mahia with a 3-2 win in a pulsating first round of the Caf Champions League match staged at the Nyayo Stadium this afternoon Saturday 1 March 2014 starting 1600hrs local time.
Dan Sserunkuma drew the first blood in the 14th minute before Ahned Akaichi equalized with Yannick Ndjeng firing Esperance into a 2-1 lead but Haron Shakava cancelled in the 77th minute as Haithen Jouwi scored the third in the 89th minute.
Lapse in concentration
From an action packed first half, Esperance came back a rejuvenated side and pressed on with constant attacks at goal but it was Dan Sserunkuma’s goal in the 47th minute that was ruled for offside after the Uganda Cranes talisman had been put through.
In the 63rd minute, Yannick Ndjeng fired the Ruud Krol - led side into a 2-1 lead, turning home after a lapse in concentration of Kogalo defence.
Bobby Williamson then made changes, pulling out Shaban Kenga for Patrick Oboya and Kevin Omondi for George Blackberry Odhiambo in the 68th and 69th minute respectively.
Two minutes later, Esperance introduced Ali Dhedbi for first goal scorer Ahned Akaichi as the visitors controlled the versed majority of the game.
The attention then shifted when youngster and former Kakamega Homeboyz high-rated defender Haron Shakava went high to head in a Joseph Wanyonyi corner to make matters 2-2 in the 77th minute, his free header sending fans into frenzy, the goal was his second for the club and in the competition.
Jouwi netted third
Harrison Aful was the man tormenting the Gor Mahia flanks with threatening runs. The Ghanaian attacking midfielder contributing to the winning goal that Haithen Jouwi nettted in the 89th minute after Israel Emuge let Jouwi free when in the box.
With four minutes of added time, it was Esperance pushing on in order to stamp their lead packed with three away goals.
Going into the second leg, the Kenyan champions will have to score two goals and ensure they do not concede to be assured of a qualification slot.