Rabat - The Egyptian team of Al Ahly has drawn criticism from Moroccan media and football fans following the ''improper" conduct of its staff after the second leg of the CAF Champions League final in Casablanca on Saturday, in which Al Ahly lost to the host team Wydad 1-0.
Rabat – The Egyptian team of Al Ahly has drawn criticism from Moroccan media and football fans following the ”improper” conduct of its staff after the second leg of the CAF Champions League final in Casablanca on Saturday, in which Al Ahly lost to the host team Wydad 1-0.
The defeat was a bitter pill to swallow for the Egyptian team, holder of eight CAF Champions League titles, the top record in the continent, which was hoping for a ninth trophy. To them, the loss was not fair, pointing to “corrupt” referees whom they accused of handing the cup to Wydad on a golden plate. For Moroccans, the Egyptian drama is highly exaggerated, as the referees did not make mistakes that would have favored Wydad, adding that the win of the Moroccan team is deserved.
We Lost Because of the Referee
As soon as the match ended, Egyptian players manifested their discontent by refusing to receive their silver medals. Emad Meteb, one of the team’s most experienced players, jumped in front of the camera, while the referees were being filmed, making the zero hand gestures to express what he thought of them.
His coach, Hossam Al Badry, slammed the referees in an interview with the Egyptian ON Sport, and attributed his team’s loss to the referees.
“Today referees are the ones who decide the results of African championships. We saw this tonight”, he said. The Egyptian coach claimed, as local media in his country did, that the goal scored by Wydad in the 69th minute of the game, was illegal because the Moroccan team’s striker, Achraf Bencherki, was offside when he sent an assist to Oualid El Karti who scored his team’s winning goal.
During the press conference that followed the game, Al Badry left the press room amid the indignation of Moroccan journalists.
In Egyptian broadcast media, a number of TV hosts and commentators denounced what they described as a “conspiracy” against their team.
“Our team did a respectable game tonight, but the referee was against it”, said Mortada Mansoor, the president of Al Ahly’s local rival, Zamalek, in a phone conversation with a local TV station. The same Mansoor accused Wydad last year of using “sorcery” to win against his team 5-2 during their face off in Morocco in the second leg of the CAF Champions League semi-final.
On social media, Moroccans have hugely criticized the reactions of Al Ahly staff and Egyptian sports commentators, describing them as “bad losers”. Jamal Cherif, beIN Sports referee explained that El Karti’s goal was 100 per cent legal, and that Bencherki was not offside when he started running to catch the ball on the left corner of the rival team, before he got past the Egyptian defender to provide his teammate with the with winning assist.
Egyptian football commentator Nacef Zakaria stated, during a program on DMC Sports, that Al Ahly lost the championship because its players could not score during the game despite creating several opportunities to do so.
“Wydad managed to get what it wanted from the first and second legs. In Alexandria they achieved a draw and in Casablanca they won. They did what they had to do”, explained.
Khalid Al Ghandoor, a former Egyptian football player turned TV host, criticized Al Ahly’s fans for not accepting defeat. He urged his fellow football fans in Egypt to acknowledge the mistakes of their team and give credit for Wydad’s coach Houcine Amouta.