Wydad win Super Cup as VAR used in Africa for first time

Casablanca (Morocco) (AFP) – Amin Tighazoui scored from a free-kick to give Wydad Casablanca a 1-0 CAF Super Cup victory over TP Mazembe Saturday as the video assistant referee (VAR) system was used for the first time in Africa.

The goal that separated Champions League winners Wydad of Morocco and Confederation Cup title-holders Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo came on 83 minutes in Casablanca.

France-born Tighazoui, who was not part of the Champions League-winning team last November, curled the set-piece over the defensive wall and past outstanding goalkeeper Sylvain Gbohouo.

Earlier, the VAR system being trialled in several European countries with mixed results, was used for the first time in Africa after 58 minutes at Stade Mohamed V.

The Zambian referee initially awarded a second penalty within three minutes to Wydad only to change his mind after running to the sideline and watching replays of the incident.

While the huge Moroccan crowd in the 65,000-seat stadium were naturally with the decision, it did appear that a Wydad player fell theatrically to the ground inside the box.

VAR was supposed to debut in Africa last month during the Nations Championship in Morocco, but trial runs were held instead.  

The system involves off-field officials assisting referees with key decisions, including awarding goals and penalties and ruling on offsides, red cards and mistaken identities.

Wydad squandered the early spot-kick when Ivorian Gbohouo correctly guessed which side of the goal Walid el Karti would aim at and parried the ball to safety.

The home team dominated the annual one-off match throughout only to be defied by Gbohouo until 28-year-old winger Tighazoui struck.

Success for the Casablanca club continued a run of Moroccan football success that began last November when they defeated Al Ahly of Egypt to win the Champions League a second time.

Morocco qualified for the World Cup under French coach Herve Renard the same month and a home-based national side won the African Nations Championship 20 days ago.

By winning the Super Cup for the fist time at the third attempt, Wydad made Tunisian Faouzi Benzarti the outright second most successful coach in CAF competitions with five titles.

He won two with Esperance and two with another Tunisian club, Etoile Sahel, before being hired by Wydad this year after Hussein Amoutta was fired over poor domestic form.

Portuguese Manuel Jose holds the record for CAF club titles won by a coach, guiding Al Ahly to four Champions League and four Super Cup triumphs. 

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