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Esperance crowned African champions with win over Wydad

Tunisia’s Esperance have won the African Champions League after a 1-0 win over 10-man Wydad Casablanca of Morocco in the second leg of the final.

Ghana’s Harrison Afful got the only goal of the game to give the ‘Blood and Gold’ the victory.

They take the title 1-0 on aggregate after a 0-0 draw in the first leg.

Esperance will represent Africa at the Club World Cup in Japan which takes place next month and claim prize money of $1.5m (£933,000).

Wydad played most of the game a man down after defender Mourad el Massane was sent off for a crude challenge on Esperance striker Yannick N’djeng at the end of the first half.

Afful’s strike came in the 21st minute of the game – the Ghanaian broke down the right hand side, cut infield and fired a powerful shot past Wydad’s young keeper Yassine Bounou.

It was an impressive finish, out of keeping with a match that was mainly ragged and patchy, although – before they went down to 10 men – Wydad striker Fabrice Ondama was only denied by some impressive footwork from Esperance keeper Moez Ben Cherifa.

The two teams were playing their fourth game against each other in this year’s Champions League – having also met in two group matches – and each of the previous three games had ended in a draw.

The over-familiarity served to cancel out the creativity and the spectacle was not enhanced by the sending-off of Massane.

But Esperance celebrated in style, as they claimed the continental crown for the first time in 17 years – and can now prepare to represent Africa on the global stage.

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