Esperance are Champions as Wydad walkout

Esperance are Champions as Wydad walkout

Esperance Tunis are new African champions after their 1-0 win over Morocco’s Wydad Casablanca was upheld in the CAF Champions League return leg final that was eventually abandoned.

Both sides played out the first leg in a 1-1 draw a week ago, with Wydad filing a complaint to CAF for poor officiating which led to the suspension of the referee of that game.

In Tunis on Friday, the return leg saw a bigger controversy when the visitors’ equalising goal was ruled offside by Gambian referee Bakari Gassama, who chose not to review the action on VAR because the facility was not working.

Wydad players walked off the pitch and refused to return to continue the game in protest of the referee’s decision not to implement VAR.

Esperance had opened the scoring in the 42nd minute through Mohamed Youcef Belaili while Wydad’s disallowed goal came in 58th minute through midfielder Walid El Karti.

CAF president Ahmed Ahmed entered the pitch and tried to offer his mediation but to no avail.

The game was halted for more than an hour before Esperance were declared the winners by the referee. It is their fourth CAF Champions League title.

“Wydad’s players wanted to mess up the game, so we had to be calm,” Esperance manager Moine Chaabani said after the game.

“We have no impact on them. The important thing is we are the champions”.

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