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Esperance must play in empty stadium after crowd trouble

Esperance supporters and riot police clash during a CAF Champions League quarter-final against JS Kabylie near Tunis on April 29.

Tunisian club Esperance will host Egyptian outfit Al Ahly behind closed doors in a CAF Champions League semi-final on May 12 after crowd trouble in the previous round.

A Confederation of African Football (CAF) statement released on Saturday said the Tunisia outfit must stage their next two matches in continental competitions without spectators.

The four-time winners of the Champions League — the premier African club competition — have also been fined $300,000.

Esperance said they will appeal the sanctions, believing they are “too severe”, after clashes between some of their supporters and riot police in Rades near Tunis last weekend.

In a move still to be explained, some spectators tried to invade the pitch at half-time during a quarter-final second leg against Algerian club JS Kabylie.

There had been no goals during the first half, leaving Esperance leading 1-0 on aggregate in the North African showdown.

While the police prevented an invasion of the pitch, some were injured by various objects hurled at them.

Tear gas was fired into a section of the crowd and order was eventually restored with the second half kicking off 45 minutes behind schedule. The return match ended in a 1-1 draw.


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