The very entertaining North African clash was overshadowed by two VAR decisions against the Moroccans.
Esperance took the lead at the 44th minute through Fousseny Coulibaly after some hesitant defending from Wydad.
Khalil Chemmam looped a free-kick to the back post which was met by a header from Coulibaly. His initial effort was kept out by the Wydad shot-stopper Ahmed Reda Tagnaouti who had no answer to the following volley from the 29 years old Ivorian forward.
The first 40 minutes of the game will not be remembered for the quality of football offered by both teams at the Prince Moulay Abdallah Stadium in Rabat, but both teams made their intentions clear through the numerous fouls and little quarrels amongst both set of players.
Egyptian referee Gehad Geresha then took centre stage. A minute after conceding, Ayoub El Amloud celebrated an equalizer through a deflected effort only for the goal to be ruled out by a VAR decision for hand ball.
Wydad’s task was made more difficult when their captain Brahim Nakach was sent off five minutes into the second half following a nasty challenge.
Wydad was the victim of the VAR again when a penalty appeal for handball was turned down.
With a goal and a man down Faouzi Benzarti’s men were up against it, but they showed great character and fought for every ball.
With more of the possession and attempts to kill the game it looked like Moine Chaabani’s men where going to get just the result they wanted until Wydad found the equalizer through a header from 25 years old Ivorian defender Cheick Comara at the 79th minute.
Esperance have the advantage going into the return leg game on May 31st thanks to that precious away goal.