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CAF Champions League

Caf Champions League: Raja Casablanca slam 'poor refereeing' vs Al Ahly, demand inquiry

11:33 GMT+3 18/04/2022
Raja Casablanca.
The Moroccan side have laid down reasons why they believe they were treated unfairly during the encounter against the reigning African champions

Raja Casablanca have alleged there was errant refereeing during the first leg of their Caf Champions League quarter-final against Al Ahly on Saturday in Cairo.

The hosts took the lead in the 13th minute when they were awarded a controversial penalty – following an alleged handball in the box - which was converted by El Solia.

The Moroccan club has since pointed out the grounds on which they believe there was no fairness in the game.

"The first leg of the Caf Champions League quarter-final match between Al Ahly and Raja Club Athletic was marred by poor officiating," the club said in a statement.

"Referee Jean-Jacques Ndala and VAR official Mehdi Abdi Charef acted in a flagrant breach of the principles of equal opportunity and fair refereeing.

"[They] took several unfair, ungrounded decisions which harmed the interests of Raja Club Athletic, as follows: 

"Awarding an imaginary penalty following deliberate tampering during VAR review and breaching the VAR rules. Both the main referee and the VAR official refrained from showing Percy Tau a red card following his reckless and dangerous tackle against Mohamed Azrida. 

"The assistant referee's assault on Mohamed Azrida [was] without any valid reason. The absence of VAR review for Al Ahly's second goal despite the presence of reasonable doubt."

For all these reasons, they have demanded an inquiry into the issues they have raised.

"For all these reasons, Raja Club Athletic; strongly condemns this errant refereeing, which damages the reputation of African football, and calls for an urgent inquiry into this matter," the statement added.

"Urges Caf to take the necessary measures against the refereeing team. Urges Caf to ensure full respect of the principles of equity and justice for all."

As the Moroccan club was left unsatisfied, Al Ahly coach Pitso Mosimane expects a tough challenge during the second leg this coming weekend.

"There are a few elements that I will discuss with my players. We had the opportunity to kill the tie," the former Mamelodi Sundowns coach said, as quoted by the club’s portal.

"The second leg will be a very difficult game for us. We will go there and win in Morocco. I trust my team and I believe in my team. We have to trust the team. We have to support the players. We need them. Trust this team.

"We are a good team. All we have to do is to go to Morocco and avoid conceding a goal, then we need to score a goal.

"We must defend our lead. We have two opportunities. If we do not score, we must keep a clean sheet."

The second leg will be played on April 23 at the Mohamed V Stadium.