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CAF Champions League

CAF Final Abandoned, Esperance Crowned African Champs!

Esperance were CAF Champions League winners in controversial circumstances after the second leg against Wydad Casablanca was abandoned in the second half.

The two sides played to a 1-1 stalemate in the first-leg in Rabat and both made four changes from that clash, with Esperance goalkeeper Moez Ben Cherifia the biggest casualty of the accumulation of yellow cards and his suspension saw Rami Jeridi taking his place between the sticks.

After a lively opening, Moine Chaabani’s charges found the breakthrough four minutes before the halftime break courtesy of a sumptuous curling shot by Youcef Belaili from the edge of the box that found the top corner to make it 1-0 on the night and 2-1 on aggregate going to the break.

The visitors showed sense a of urgency after coming out for the second stanza as Ayman El Hassouni had a glorious chance to equalise for Wydad five minutes inside the second stanza after he was picked out by Badi Aouk, but he struck his shot a little wide of the gaping far post.

The drama began just before the hour mark when Wydad thought they had found the equaliser after El Karti guided a home powerful effort, but the goal was controversially ruled out for offside, while VAR was surprisingly not used.

Play was halted, with the crowd getting out of control, throwing objects onto the pitch while matters were made worse by the Wydad players refusing to enter the field in remonstration of the disallowed goal.

The delay was well over an hour, but after consultations with the officials the match was eventually abandoned and Esperance were crowned champions for the second successive year after winning 2-1 on aggregate.

By winning the Champions League, Esperance will once again respresent Africa at the FIFA Club World Cup in December.

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