The match turned awry when a fan ran onto the pitch while others hurled objects. The Tunisians had two goals correctly ruled offside, as replays showed, and that in no small way spoiled their world club football party.
Al Sadd will face Barcelona in the last four as their reward for trashing the Africans.
In the other game, Japanese side Kashiwa Reysol waited till the penalty shoot out to book a place in the last four after a pulsating game which ended 1-1.
They will meet Santos of Brazil to slug it out for the slot to play either Barcelona or Al Sadd in the final of the competition.
Esperance should have taken the lead early in the match after some brilliant work by Youssef Msakni, who created two great chances for his team.
First he fed Cameroonian striker Yannick Ndjeng, who’s low shot cannoned back of the post into the arms of the keeper.
Then Msakni’s own superb run ended in another save by Mohamed Saqr.
Despite their dominance of the first few minutes of the opening, Esperance conceded the first goal through Khlafan Al Khlafan’s header from a Kader Keita cross down the flank in the 33rd minute.
Shortly after the break, Al Sadd’s Abdulla Koni doubled their lead from close range.
Esperance pulled one back on the hour mark to give the Africans a glimmer of hope before being substituted with 20minutes to go.
Two goals were ruled offside in the final moments of the game by the referee. Ndjeng and Khaled Ayari scored but it didn’t count bringing the game to a frenetic end.
One Esperance fan broke through security and ran towards the Al Sadd goalkeeper at the end of the game and there was some trouble in other parts of the ground as well.
The Africans will remain in the Asian nation to play for pride in the 5th/6th place playoff match against fellow first losers, Monterrey on Thursday.