A goals in each half from Maher Hannachi and Slim Ben Belgacem was all the 2007 winners needed to seal their place at the knockout stage, having gone five points clear the top of Group D. After four games, Etoile has ten points, five more than second place Primeiro de Agosto of Angola. Swallows follow in that order on four points and Zesco of Zambia with two at the bottom.
On 21 minutes, Hannachi finished off an assist from Karim Aouadhi to break the deadlock.
The visitors almost replied on 33 minutes but Sandile Hlatjwayo’s effort was no trouble for Achraf Kriri, who dived to save the ball.
Just before the break, Etoile were rewarded a penalty after Alaya Brigui was fouled in the vital area by his marker. Brigui elected himself for the kick, but saw his shot bounce off the post to the relief of the visitors.
Etoile coach Chihen Ellili brought on veteran Amine Chermiti for Brigui to strengthen his forward line. And it will pay off later, as Chermiti, a member of the Etoile 2007 wining side, squared Belgacem to seal victory in the dying minutes.
Chiheb Ellili (Head coach, Etoile du Sahel)
We learned many things from the last game. We knew this game would be an exact copy of the Swaziland game. In the first half, we had many opportunities that came through diversity in our style of play, and victory meant qualification for us. In the second half, we tried to hold the ball to create opportunities. We have secured qualification. Now it is the time to stay in first place and improve our team.
Thabo Vilakati (Head coach, Mbabane Swallows)
I am very proud of my boys and I am happy for them. They stuck to the game plan and played their best. This is the game of football. If you don't take your chances, you get punished.
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