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Tunisian press slams final match referee

The Tunisian press has blasted Togolese referee, Kokou Djaoupe, over controversial officiating that saw the Tunisian giants destroyed 5-0 by their Congolese hosts, TP Mazembe

Ahmed Abdel-Rasoul, Thursday 25 Nov 2010
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The Tunisian press has blasted Togolese referee, Kokou Djaoupe, over controversial officiating that saw the Tunisian giants destroyed 5-0 by their Congolese hosts, TP Mazembe, in the first leg of the CAF Champions League final on Sunday. The Tunisians have complained about the referee, accusing him of poor performance, bias and even of being drunk. According to them, it was the refereeing that caused Sunday's game to close with the biggest defeat in the history of the African final. According to Al-Sabah newspaper, the players lost their concentration after the first goal and could not get back into the game because of the referee's many additional harsh calls. Kasongo Ngandu opened the score in the 18th minute with a controversial goal, which, according to the Tunisians, was not legal because the ball did not cross the goal line. 7 minutes after Ngandu's goal, the referee showed the red card to Mohamed Ben Mansour. Al-Sabah claimed that the events of the game were all planned by Mazembe’s president, who wanted to appoint Djaoupe as the game's referee despite his poor record. “He was drunk. He is the main reason for our defeat, but we will take our revenge back home,” Esperance midfielder Khaled Al-Korbi said after the game. However, the Al-Sahah coverage also slammed the Tunisian players for their lackluster performance, arguing the team had appeared far from its renowned form. Tunisian national team coach, Bertrand Marchand, also expressed his disappointment with the grave defeat, explaining he was fearful of the impact it may leave on the international players when they take on Botswana in 17 November in the African Cup of Nations’ qualifiers. “Mazembe is a strong team but the referee eased their mission. Three years ago I predicted that they will dominate Africa, which really did happen,” the Frenchman told Al-Sabah. “Despite the heavy defeat, I am expecting a miracle in Tunisia as I think that Mazembe will be overjoyed by their five goals and could be out of service in the return leg,” he added. Meanwhile, Al-Sahafa newspaper has ruled out any possibility of a miracle, arguing that the referee had killed all hope for the Tunisians.

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