Former Lobi Stars’ forward Junior Lokosa wasn’t anywhere close to the bench as Esperance of Tunisia narrowly fell to Morocco’s Raja Casablanca in their African Super Cup tie at the Al Gharafa Stadium, Doha on Friday.
Lokosa who ended the 2018 Nigeria Professional Football League season as the highest goal scorer for Kano Pillars before his move to the Tunisian club is still struggling to find his feet and wasn’t dressed for the encounter.
Raja dominated the first half capitalizing on their better start with Soufiane Rahimi creating a lot of problems for the Esperance backline. Hafidi broke the broke the deadlock on 22 minutes, controlling a Mahmoud Benhalib pass before volleying past Esperance goalkeeper Rami Jeridi.
Midway, Rahimi missed a chance to solidify the lead of the Moroccans, as Jeridi had the better of him in a one-on-one situation.
Minutes later, Esperance forward Taha Khenissi missed a sitter to level matters but Raja goalie Anas Zniti saved the situation of for the Green Eagles.
Esperance coach Moine Chaabani brought on Youcef Belaili and Iheb Mbarki after recess, and it paid dividends leading to the equalizer on 57 minutes. Mbarki squared Belaili who curled past Zniti to even the score.
Benoun led by example with a back-heel from a goalmouth action from a Sand Masaud assist to decide the match.
Esperance’s search for the equalizer remained fruitless as Raja cruised to their second title since 2000, when they beat Africa Sports of Cote d’Ivoire.
The Super Cup is an annual one-off match pitting the winner of the Champions League and second-tier Confederation Cup against each other.
The Moroccan side became the first Confederation Cup winners since 2012 to win the Super Cup at the expense of a Champions League Champions. The Super Cup trophy is also their first in 19 years.
Friday’s match was played in the 2022 World Cup host nation, Qatar, the first time it has been played outside Africa.
The Qataris used the match to help train its staff and test its facilities ahead of 2022.
Esperance now stay in Doha and will face CA Bizertin in the Tunisian Super Cup on 1 April in the same stadium.