Defending champions, Esperance of Tunisia moved one step closer to retaining their CAF Champions League trophy after forcing hosts Wydad Athletic Club to a 1-1 draw at the Mohammed V Stadium in Casablanca, AOIFootball.com reports.
With plenty of Nigerian interests involved in the clash, Wydad handed 2014 World Cup star, Babatunde Michael, a starter’s berth but compatriot Gabriel Okechukwu watched from the bench as Junior Lokosa who has been in red-hot form led the visitors.
With both sides looking poised to head into the break goalless, Ivorian midfielder Fousseny Coulibaly opened the scoring for the visitors in the 44th minute as he fired home from close range after his initial header was well saved by the goalkeeper.
The hosts did, however, equalize two minutes later when Babatunde fired home from close range but the Video Assistant Referee ruled off the goal after a Wydad player appeared to have handled the ball in the build-up to the goal.
Wydad were then reduced to 10 men just at the start of the second half and Babatunde was later replaced after the hour mark.
Senegalese defender Cheick Comara did equalize for the hosts 11 minutes from time to ensure the 2017 champions still stand a chance, going into next Friday’s second leg in Tunis.
Lokosa was on for 88 minutes before being replaced and he will now hope for better performance when both sides meet again in seven days time.