Esperance retain Champions League title as final abandoned

Esperance retain Champions League title as final abandoned
Esperance de Tunis team captain Moez Ben Cherifia and Tunisian prime minister Youssef Chahed pose with the trophy after winning during the CAF Champions League

by Staff Reporter

Saturday Jun 01, 2019. 09:06

Esperance de Tunis beat Wydad Casablanca 1-0 in the 2018/19 CAF Champions League final second-leg clash at the Stade Olympique de Radès.

As a result, the Tunisian giants won their second consecutive title after winning the tie 2-1 on aggregate against the Moroccan side.

The first-leg encounter had ended in a 1-1 stalemate in an encounter which was played in Morocco last weekend.

Wydad Al Ouma pushed for an early goal which would have unsettled the Blood and Gold defence which was led by the experienced Khalil Chemmam.

However, Esperance looked solid and compact at the back and they grew in confidence as the first-half progressed.

The hosts managed to break the deadlock through Youcef Belaïli four minutes before half-time when he scored with a curling shot from the edge of the box to make 1-0 to Esperance.

The score was 1-0 to Esperance at the interval thanks to Belaïli's brilliant goal.

Wydad Al Ouma were the better side after the restart and they came close to scoring when Badi Aouk's shot narrowly missed the target five minutes into the second-half.

The visitors kept pushing and they managed to score just before the half-hour mark through Walid el Karti, whose header beat Rami Jridi in Esperance goal.

However, the goal was controversially ruled out for offside and the decision was not referred to the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) by Gambian referee Bakary Papa Gassama.

Wydad players then refused to play on and then walked off the pitch, and CAF president Ahmad Ahmad stepped onto the pitch after the match was halted for over an hour.

Ahmad consulted with the officials, but the Wydad players still refused to resume play and Gassama then blew his final whistle and Esperance celebrated on the field of play.

Esperance became the first team to successfully defend the Champions League title since Egypt's Al Ahly in 2013.

Esperance (1) 1 (Belaïli 41')
Wydad (0) 0
Esperance: Jridi, Derbali, Chemmam, Yacoubi, Kom, Ben Mohamed, Bguir, Coulibaly, Belaïli (Elhouni 61'), Badri, Khenissi.

Wydad: Tagnaouti, Noussir, Nahiri, Comara, El Amloud, Saidi, El Karti, Hassouni, Jabrane, Badi, El Haddad.

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