Esperance coach Tarek Thabet says there are many positives to be picked despite his sides loss to Waydad Casablanca in the second semi-final match of the inaugural African Football League (AFL) on Wednesday.
The Tunisian giants bowed out after losing 5-4 on post-match penalties. This is after winning the return match 1-0 in regular time for a 1-1 goal aggregate score to send the match into penalties.
“Today, Esperance fans were amazing and so were the players. A good number of our players are young and their performance proved that we have a good future as a club and are capable of playing the final of the Champions League,” he said during the post-match interview.
He admitted that his side did not create that many chances in the first half and believes that affected the results.
“It is true we did not create many chances and perhaps we lost the game in the first half. However, we corrected the same and had a better and excellent second half. We scored one goal but didn’t score the one that matters and the reality is that we have some work to do in certain positions,” he said.
Thabet also took responsibility for the last minute substitution of veteran goalkeeper Moez Ben Cherifia for youngster Amenallah Memmiche who was expected to help Esperance during the penalty shoot-out but instead conceded all five penalties.
“Changing the goalkeeper was a choice we made and we knew it was risky and perhaps if it had worked out we wouldn’t be talking about it.
“The truth is both goalkeepers are at the same level and sometimes we need to take such action.”
This was Esperance’s first loss in the tournament as they had thrashed T.P Mazembe 3-1 in the first quarter-final match of the tournament