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CAF Confederation Cup

Referee punched, kicked as Moroccan club reach CAF Cup semi-finals


Johannesburg (AFP) – Tunisian referee Sadeq al Salmi was punched and kicked after Moroccan club Renaissance Berkane reached the CAF Confederation Cup semi-finals at the weekend with a 1-0 win over Egyptian visitors Al Masry.

Youssef el Fahli converted a seventh-minute penalty for the only goal of the quarter-final second leg and Berkane won the fiery tie on away goals after a 2-2 aggregate draw.

Berkane will face fellow former Confederation Cup winners TP Mazembe from the Democratic Republic of Congo on May 8 and 15 for a place in the final.

Masry technical staff constantly complained about the decisions of Al Salmi at the Municipal Stadium in Berkane, the hub of the Moroccan citrus-growing region in the northeast of the kingdom.

When the final whistle blew the match official showed red cards to Egyptian players Farid Shawky and Mohamed Abdel Latif.

Almost immediately, a Masry technical staff member punched the referee in the face and kicked him before security staff intervened.

An ill-tempered match was marred by constant lengthy stoppages for injuries, angering Masry, who believed some were designed to waste time.

The first leg, won 2-1 by Masry in Alexandria last weekend, was also a stormy affair with two of the home side, Amr Moussa and Elyes Jlassi, sent off.

Berkane, who won the African equivalent of the UEFA Europa League in 2020 after finishing runners-up the previous season, had threatened to overrun Masry in the early stages.

Apart from the El Fahli goal, a Charki el Bahri header rebounded off the crossbar as Berkane exploited an aerial weakness in the heart of the Masry defence.  

The trend continued in the second half with Masry rarely threatening to equalise and get back in front on aggregate.

Known as the ‘Orange Boys’, Berkane are guided by Florent Ibenge, the vastly experienced former Democratic Republic of Congo coach. 

Elsewhere, Al Ahly defeated Tripoli neighbours Al Ittihad 1-0 in a Libyan derby in Benghazi to book a semi-final date with 2015 Confederation Cup runners-up Orlando Pirates from South Africa.

The only goal of the two legs came 19 minutes into the first half on an artificial pitch in the eastern coastal city.

After Ittihad goalkeeper Muad Allafi pushed away a pass lofted into the box, Ayoub Ayed hammered the loose ball into the roof of the net.

Ittihad had chances to equalise after half-time, notably when unmarked Omar al Khouja failed to connect with an Abdulati Abbasi cross.

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