7th October, 2012
Esperance of Tunisia, defending CAF Champions League title holder, forced a 0-0 draw at TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo Sunday in the semi-finals.
The Tunis club host the second leg on October 20 and will be favoured to win at home and set up a probable final against record six-time champions Al Ahly of Egypt, who drew 3-3 at Sunshine Stars of Nigeria Saturday.
Zambia’s Africa Cup of Nations-winning defender Stoppila Sunzu was sent off during the closing stages in southern Congolese mining city Lubumbashi after being cautioned a second time and is automatically barred from the return game.
His dismissal in a fiery clash that produced four yellow cards to each team completed a disappointing afternoon for Mazembe, who thrashed Esperance 5-0 at home in the first leg of the 2010 final.
The Tunisians comfortably contained the home team during the first half, but had a few scares after half-time as Mazembe increased the tempo in search of a first-leg advantage.
Unmarked Mbwana Samata nodded just over, goalkeeper Moez Ben Cherifia pushed away a stinging shot, and Ngandu Kasongo squandered a great chance to break the deadlock by firing wide in stoppage time.