Esperance were no match for TP Mazembe of DRC who thrashed the Tunisians 5-0 in the first leg of the final of the Champions League yesterday.
The emphatic victory in Lubumbashi kept alive TP Mazembe’s hopes of retaining the title.
Ngandu Kasongo and Given Singuluma scored two goals each and Dioko Kaluyituka converted a penalty to render the mid-November return match virtually meaningless.
The North Africans claimed an Ngandu Kasongo header did not cross the line after 18 minutes but the protests were ignored by the Togolese referee, who sent off defender Mohamed Ben Mansour soon after.
Mazembe attacked from the kick-off in hot conditions on a billiard-table smooth artificial surface at the 35,000-seat Kenya Stadium in the southern Congolese mining city.
The long established teams are chasing African club football bragging rights, a $1.5m first prize and a chance to play at the Club World Cup in December.
The winner of Africa’s flagship competition will meet Mexican side Pachuca at the tournament in Abu Dhabi.
Both clubs have experienced the joy of conquering Africa with Mazembe winners in 1967, 1968 and 2009 while finishing runners-up in 1969 and 1970. Esperance triumphed in 1994 and were losing 1999 and 2000 finalists.