Abandoned final a hefty blow to African football

Credit: Reuters - Sports
Published on June 1, 2019 - Duration: 00:41s

Abandoned final a hefty blow to African football

Esperance win African Champions League after opponents Wydad Casablanca walk off in protest at disallowed goal.

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Abandoned final a hefty blow to African football

SHOWS: TUNIS, TUNISIA (MAY 31, 2019) (REUTERS PICTURES - ACCESS ALL) (MUTE) 1.

STILL - ESPERANCE SPORTIVE PLAYERS POSING FOR A TEAM PHOTO BEFORE THE MATCH 2.

STILL - ESPERANCE FANS 3.

STILL - ESPERANCE SPORTIVE'S ALI JMEL AND AMINE MESKINI CELEBRATING THEIR FIRST GOAL SCORED BY MOHAMED YOUCEF BELAILI 4.

STILL - ESPERANCE PLAYERS CELEBRATING AFTER WINNING THE CAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE AFTER WYDAD CASABLANCA PLAYERS WALKED OFF THE PITCH IN PROTEST AT A DISALLOWED GOAL 5.

STILL - ESPERANCE'S MOEZ BEN CHERIFIA RECEIVING THE TROPHY FROM TUNISIAN PRIME MINISTER YOUSSEF CHAHED 6.

STILL - ESPERANCE'S MOEZ BEN CHERIFIA AND HAYTHEM JOUINI CELEBRATING THE TROPHY AFTER WINNING THE CAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE REUTERS 7.

STILL - ESPERANCE FANS CELEBRATING WITH FLARES STORY: African football's image took another hefty blow on Friday (May 31) when the final of the continent's top club competition was abandoned after Wydad Casablanca of Morocco walked off to protest a refereeing decision.

Home side Esperance were declared winners of the African Champions League but it took a stoppage of an hour and 25 minutes before the match was abandoned and they could claim the trophy.

Wydad, who were 2-1 behind on aggregate, thought they had equalised just before the hour mark but the header from Ismail El Haddad was disallowed for an infringement.

Wydad players surrounded the referee demanding he review the decision and consult the Video Assistant Referee.

Wydad substitutes and coaches ran onto the pitch to confront the referee while a train of officials came to the side of the field to try to resolve the situation.

Even CAF President Ahmad spent almost 30 minutes in discussions with officials in a futile effort to get the game restarted.

A crowd of 60,000 was left waiting before the referee finally declared the contest in favour of the home team, who retained the title.

Wydad could now face a two-year ban from competing in continental club competition.

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