Nigeria’s Plateau United fell to a narrow 1-0 defeat at the hands of Tunisian giants Esperance at the Rades Stadium in their CAF Champions League group stage playoff second leg clash. The visitors lost to a dubious penalty in the late stages of the match.
After an admirable 2-1 win in the first leg in Abuja seven days ago, Plateau United were faced with the huge hurdle of facing Esperance in front of their fans in Rades. The visiting side were denied access into the main bowl for their training sessions before the game.
From the start of the match, the Tunisian side showed their intent to take full advantage of their home situation. They controlled possession and created numerous openings, which their forwards failed to convert. Plateau United goalkeeper Suraj Ayeleso was kept busy throughout the opening period as the Blood and Gold continually peppered his goal.
Esperance thought they had taken the lead as the half petered out after the referee had awarded them a free-kick from inside the Peace Boys’ penalty area. The resulting kick was headed home from close range, only for the effort to be ruled out for offside.
The second half continued in the same vein as the first, as the home side continued to push for a goal that would give them an aggregate win. Ayeleso and the Daniel Itodo-led backline continued to keep the Tunisian outfit at bay.
The decisive moment in the game came in the 80th minute as a foul by Jimmy Ambrose outside the penalty area was adjudged to have taken place inside the box. Mohamed Ali Ben Romdhane stepped up to score the resulting spot kick, giving the Tunisian side a 1-0 win.
is this a penalty?
Esperance qualified for the group stage of the competition after their 2-2 aggregate draw against the Nigerian outfit, progressing thanks to the away goals rule. Plateau United will now continue in the playoffs for the CAF Confederation Cup group stage.