Taha Yassine Khenissi netted twice for the Blood and Gold as they stunned the defending champions, who scored through Sibusiso Vilakazi
Esperance de Tunis defeated Mamelodi Sundowns 2-1 in the 2017 Caf Champions League Group C match at the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Friday.
As a result, the Blood and Gold climb to the top of the Group C standings, while the Brazilians drop down to the second spot after suffering their first defeat.
Sundowns head coach Pitso Mosimane made two changes to the starting line-up that faced Maritzburg United in the final PSL match of the 2016/17 campaign last weekend.
Tiyani Mabunda and Leonardo Castro made their return to the starting line-up – replacing Lucky Mohomi and Yannick Zakri as Sundowns looked to bounce back to winning ways after drawing 2-2 with Maritzburg.
Esperance head coach Faouzi Benzarti also named a strong starting line-up with Khalil Chemmam leading the defence, while Taha Yassine Khenissi, who has been in good form, started upfront.
Nicknamed the Blood and Gold, Esperance got off to the best possible start when Anice Badri set up Khenissi and the latter made no mistake as he scored with a great finish to make it 1-0 to the visitors.
The Brazilians then began probing as they looked to unlock the Tunisian giants’ defence and restore parity. The home side did level matters through Sibusiso Vilakazi, who netted to make it 1-1 following Percy Tau’s good run.
The home side were in control of the match as they made some lovely interplays as they looked to penetrate the Esperance defence which looked solid most of the time.
Tebogo Langerman was forced to try his luck from range just after the half-hour mark, but Esperance goalkeeper Moez Ben Cherifia made a wonderful save to deny the Sundowns left-back.
Sundowns were dealt a blow just before the half-time break as Motjeka Madisha went down injured and he was replaced by Soumahoro Bangaly. The two sides were locked at 1-1 during the break.
The second-half got off to a slow start as both teams made patient build-ups in the first 10 minutes of the match. Sundowns then stepped up a gear as they looked to take the lead for the first-time.
A good move by the home side after the hour-mark led to Castro being presented with a good chance to give Sundowns the lead, but the Colombian striker fired wide of the target without troubling Ben Cherifia in Esperance goal.
Langerman was looking lively down the left-hand side as he made good overlapping runs. The full-back managed to set-up Tau, who failed to control the ball and Ben Cherifia snatched the ball away in the closing stages.
Khenissi then made no mistake at the other end after Esperance were awarded a late penalty in the 88th minute. The 25-year-old striker stepped up and beat Sundowns keeper Denis Onyango from the spot-kick to seal Esperance’s 2-1 victory.