Ammar Jemal scored in the first half to give hosts Etoile Sahel of Tunisia a 1-0 victory over Orlando Pirates of South Africa on Sunday to lift the CAF Confederation Cup. Etoile triumphed 2-1 on aggregate in the final of the second-tier African club competition following a 1-1 first-leg draw in Soweto last Saturday.
Jemal, 28, a centre-back who has played in Switzerland, Germany, France and Saudi Arabia, also scored in South Africa, both from set-pieces. His second-leg goal at Stade Olympique in Mediterranean resort Sousse was not pretty, but the most important of his nine-year senior career as it gave Etoile a ninth CAF title.
Jemal claimed five goals during the 16-match Confederation Cup campaign, making him the second highest scorer for the Red Devils after six-goal Baghdad Bounedjah. The physicality of tall Algerian Bounedjah unsettled the South Africans until he was forced to retire injured midway through the first half with Brazilian Diogo Acosta coming off the bench.
Pirates' best chances in a scrappy climax to the CAF club season fell to winger Thabo Rakhale, a star for the Buccaneers in earlier rounds. A Thamsanqa Gabuza pass set him up for a strike at goal after 18 minutes, but he pulled a weak shot well wide with only goalkeeper Aymen Mathlouthi to beat.
Rakhale found himself one-on-one with Mathlouthi again in the second half only to hesitate, believing he was offside, and the Tunisian cleared the ball. Pirates had a late chance to equalise, and force a penalty shootout, from a free-kick just outside the box, but veteran Mathlouthi acrobatically deflected a Menzi Masuku shot to safety.
A ninth title draws Etoile level with Zamalek of Egypt as the second most successful clubs in CAF competitions behind Al Ahly of Egypt, winners of 19. Etoile have lifted the Confederation Cup, Super Cup and the now defunct African Cup Winners' Cup and CAF Cup trophies twice and won the CAF Champions League once.