Esperance are the defending champions
  • Esperance (Tunisia) 1-0 Wydad Casablanca (Morocco)
  • [Esperance win 2-1 on aggregate]

Tunisia side Esperance retained their Caf Champions League crown in a bizarre manner after edging Wydad Casablanca 2-1 on aggregate.

But the return leg lasted just over an hour as Wydad Casablanca players walked off the pitch in the 60th minute protesting a decision to disallow their goal without consulting VAR.

Esperance took a deserved lead in the 41st minute with a well taken strike by Youssef Belaili as they controlled proceedings in front of their fans.

But the second half saw a different Wydad side as they pushed the hosts to the wall and eventually got the leveller in the 60th minute but the goal celebrations that would bring the tie back to level terms didn’t last as the scorer was flagged offside.

From replays, it appeared as though he was onside and that’s when drama ensued.

The visiting team protested the decision made by the officials led by arguably the best referee on the continent, Papa Bakary Gassama and often demanded he consults VAR as it was in the reverse fixture.

Gassama insisted on disallowing the goal without going to VAR monitors and drama started with Wydad players refusing to play again.

The waiting fans all over the world kept glued on their televisions hoping something would change but nothing did as Wydad stuck with their decision.

Caf officials led by President Ahmad Ahmad also intervened by holding discussions on the pitch but sanity didn’t prevail.

After waiting for over an hour, a decision was made to crown Esperance for a second successive year.

It was later revealed that VAR had broken down but CAF is likely to apprehend Wydad and match officials in an emergency meeting to be held next week.

It comes barely a week after Egyptian referee Gehad was banned for six months after allegedly mishandling the reverse fixture in which he denied Wydad a penalty and also sent off their captain.

Ismael Kiyonga

Senior Staff writer at Kawowo Sports mainly covering football

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