Ahly coach Koller lashes out at Champions League final referee

Ahram Online , Monday 5 Jun 2023

The normally mild-mannered Ahly coach Marcel Koller displayed flashes of anger directed at the officiating following their narrow 2-1 victory against Wydad in the first leg of the Champions League final on Sunday.

Ahly coach Marcel Koller
Ahly s Swiss coach Marcel Koller gestures during the first-leg final football match of the CAF Champions League, between Egypt s Al-Ahly and Morocco s Wydad AC, at Cairo International Stadium on June 4, 2023. Photo: AFP


The Swiss coach questioned the controversial decisions that he claimed had a significant impact on the game.

The VAR intervened to overturn a penalty decision for Ahly, while a penalty claim for the Red Devils was turned down, and an appeal for a red card for denying a clear chance was also rejected.

"I am very angry about the refereeing decisions. I reviewed all the footage after the game, and it is clear that we should have been awarded a penalty after a tackle on our player [Hussein El Shahat] in the area. I don't understand how the referee and VAR missed it. Is that normal?!" Koller expressed his frustration at the post-game news conference.

The referee faced a massive protest from Ahly players when the last defender, Yahia Attiat Allah, deliberately handled the ball to prevent Percy Tau and Hussein El Shahat from advancing toward the goal while the result was still 2-0. However, the Libyan referee, Moaz Ibrahim, only issued a yellow card.

"This deliberate handball drove me crazy. We had two players clear on target from midfield, and the opposing player intentionally handled the ball. In any competition, on any continent, and in any universe, it is a direct red card. But the referee showed him a yellow card, and the VAR remained silent!" Koller added.

Koller admitted that he was upset by the result, but they still managed to secure a victory.

"This is the final of the Champions League between the two best teams on the continent. In the end, we won the game, but we are saddened because the referee's decisions influenced the result.

"I am confident that we can also score in Morocco. Now, I will return home and, once I regain my composure, I will rewatch the game and start thinking about the return leg," he concluded.

Ahly will travel to face Wydad at the Mohamed V stadium on Sunday, 11 June.

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