ES Tunis will trade tackles with Al Ahly in the first leg of their CAF Champions League semifinal on Saturday.
The hosts come into the game on the back of a 1-0 defeat to arch-rivals Etoile Sahel on home turf. Jacques Mbe scored the game-winning goal in the 35th minute for the visitors.
Al Ahly have not been in action since defeating RS Berkane 2-0 to win a record-extending seventh CAF Super Cup last month. Mohamed Sherif and Salah Mohsen scored second-half goals to give the Egyptian heavyweights the win.
The Red Devils saw off South African side Mamelodi Sundowns with a 3-1 aggregate win in the quarterfinals to progress to this stage. Esperance played out a 2-2 aggregate draw against CR Belouizdad and needed the lottery of penalties to qualify for the last four.
A place in the final against either Wydad Casablanca or Kaizer Chiefs awaits the winner of this tie.
ES Tunis vs Al Ahly Head-to-Head
This will be the 15th continental meeting between the sides and Al Ahly have a much better record in previous matches played.
The Cairo outfit were victorious on seven occasions while ES Tunis have three wins to their name. The two sides shared the spoils in four previous matches.
Their most recent meeting came in the final of the 2018 CAF Champions League. Esperance overcame a 3-1 first-leg defeat with a 3-0 home win to secure their third CAF Champions League crown.
ES Tunis form guide: L-W-L-L-L
Al Ahly form guide: W-D-W-D-W
ES Tunis vs Al Ahly Team News
Coach Moïne Chaabani will be banking on the likes of Taha Yassine Khenissi and Mohamed Ali Ben Romdhane to lead the line against Al Ahly.
Long-term injury absentee Karim ‘Nedved' Walid returned to action in a friendly last week after almost two years out. However, Al Ahly suffered an injury concern in their friendly game against Second Division side Misr Insurance Club.
Experienced forward Walid Soliman limped off with a quadricep injury in the game, although team doctors said the injury was not too serious.
Mohamed Hany sustained an injury in the victory over Berkane and might not be fit in time while Mohamed Magdy Afsha was also sidelined.
Injuries: Mohamed Hany, Mohamed Magdy Afsha, Walid Soliman
ES Tunis vs Al Ahly Predicted XI
ES Tunis Predicted XI (4-5-1): Ben Cherifia (GK); Ben Hamida, Khalil Chemmam, Abdelkader Bedrane, Hamdi Nagguez; Fousenny Coulibaly, Hamdou Elhouni, Ben Romdhane, Ghailene Chaalali, Anice Badri; Khalid Basit
Al Ahly Predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Mohamed El Shenawy (GK); Ibrahim Yasser, Rami Rabia, Bard Banoun, Ali Maloul; Amr Al Sulaya, Aliou Dieng; Taher Mohamed, Hamdi Fahti, Hussein El Shahat; Mohamed Sherif
ES Tunis vs Al Ahly Prediction
Esperance have been in dire form in recent weeks and simply have to step up their game if they are to get anything against a resurgent Al Ahly side.
Home advantage could factor into this tie but the visitors have shown their wherewithal on their travels this season. We are predicting a share of the spoils, leaving the tie firmly balanced ahead of the second leg.`
Prediction: ES Tunis 1-1 Al Ahly