Esperance declared CAF CL winners as protesting Wydad walk-out

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Holders Esperance retained the Total CAF Champions League title after being declared winners following a 1-0 win over Wydad Athletic Club of Morocco in the final second leg on Friday at the Olympic Stadium in Rades, near Tunis.

The Moroccans walked out of the pitch in anger after officials called off a supposed equalizer for offside, leading to a pitch invasion by Wydad players and officials.

That left the referee with no option but to declare Esperance winners.

They join the likes of Egyptian giants Al Ahly, TP Mazembe of DR Congo and Nigeria’s Enyimba as teams to win back-to-back titles.

Action

After a 1-1 draw from the first leg last week in Rabat, the encounter lived up the billing as the climax to the club championships for the transitional 2018/19 season.

Havig missed chaces,  a beautiful display of skills by Ayman Ben Mohamed, who dribbled past his marker, before passing to Belaili, who struck a curler that zoomed into the top corner of the net for the opener for Esperance.

Controversy

Wydad mounted pressure in the second half and Walid El Karti’s header broke Esperance’s deadlock but his goal was flagged off to the dismay of the Wydad playing body and technical team.

The match was interrupted for over an hour after Wydad abandoned play. After several consultations, with the game halted for well an over, and the refusal of Wydad to resume play, referee Papa Bakary Gassama whistled to end the game.

Esperance was declared winner as they cruised to their fourth title – much to the delight of the yellow and blood home fans who celebrated till day break.