JOHANNESBURG – Favourites Esperance of Tunisia made a shaky start to the start of the group phase of the African Champions League on Sunday, needing a controversial penalty for a 2-1 home win over Canon Yaounde of Cameroon. The Tunis club benefited from several generous refereeing decisions in taking all three points in their group B match against the Cameroon champions.
Skander Souayeh scored the winner five minutes into the second half from the penalty spot after Jean-Marc Benie went down in the penalty area under a challenge from Canon defender Georges Edoa, who did not look to have made any contact.
Canon had a penalty appeal of their own turned away midway through the first half when Jean Blaise Bouli was bundled off the ball by Esperance captain Tarek Thabet but their protests were waved away by referee Bonaventure Coffi Codja of Benin.
Esperance took the lead in the 12th minute through Mourad Melki, snatching up a loose ball after Canon failed to clear an initial effort by Benie.
But Canon were level just before the break when Marcus Mokake belied his diminutive frame by holding off the defence to score from a tight angle on the right, catching Esperance’s goalkeeper Jean-Jacques Tizie out of position trying to cover his post.
Esperance – Mourad Melki 12, Skander Souayah 50pen
Canon Yaounde – Marcus Mokake 43
Halftime: 1-1; Attendance: 27,000
Esperance: 1-Jean-Jacques Tizie; 7-Tarek Thabet, 27-Emir Mkademi, 15-Radhi Jaidi, 17-Walid Azaiez, 26-Jaohar Mnari, 11-Mourad Melki, 30-Clayton, 13-Skander Souayah (8-Zied Triki, 89), 19-Amuah Ibrahima Diaky (12-Riadh Jelassi, 66), 24-Jean-Marc Benie (2-Imed Ben Younes, 80)
Canon Yaounde: 30-Pierre Mbarga; 3-Georges Nnomo Ambassa, 4-Georges Edoa, 11-Luc Bessala, 23-Daniel Monchare, 26-Martin Zock, 16-Jean Blaise Bouli (19-Robert Jama Mba, 81), 18-Francois Dikoume (20-Emmanuel Amungwa, 53), 29-Francis Oumar, 8-Marcus Mokake, 9-Jean Charles Ndjom Kouang
Referee: Bonaventure Coffi Codja (Benin)
By Mark Gleeson