17-12-2019 Esperance 6 Al-Sadd 2 FIFA Club World Cup


This was a minor triumph for the Tunisians who easily beat the local Qatari representatives to secure 5th place at the CWC.

It was a result that gave their large number of boisterous fans plenty to cheer on a showery evening at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha.

The game was also a personal milestone for Libyan forward Hamdou Elhouni who scored a hat-trick something only previously achieved at the CWC by the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Suarez, and Gareth Bale.


His scoring was undoubtedly helped by a very porous opposition defence.

That was evident as early as the sixth minute when Elhouni stepped past a defender and beat stand-in goalie Barsham.

More disasters followed for Xavi’s team as their defence allowed Badri an easy second.

Then a VAR-confirmed penalty meant an Al-Sadd dismissal and a third goal without reply.


And though the home side would later score from two spot-kicks of their own they were just consolations.

Esperance would go on to get three more against the ten men with Elhouni completing his historic hat-trick, again past a poor backline.


This match was in contrast to Esperance’s first game when they were generally second-best against Al-Hilal.

Though they only lost 1-0 the Tunisians struggled to combat the Saudis whenever they got forward.

Most of the chances that did come their way were from opposition mistakes.


Afterwards the Esperance coach Chaabani felt they had performed well and he was proud of their efforts.

But he did emphasise the relative lack of resources of African teams as opposed to their Asian counterparts.

Who seem to afford costlier foreign imported forwards, for example.

That analysis is borne out by the general lack of success of the African teams at the CWC.

Not that many of the yellow & red-shirted fans seemed to mind too much.


Report & Analysis - John Bethell


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